Rachael Maskell MP for York Central has worked tirelessly over the last 10 weeks in York to support residents and businesses over this very trying time. Over this time she has taken every opportunity to raise questions, speak in debates and called on Ministers to respond to the many challenges that people are facing due to the Coronavirus crises.
The hybrid proceedings enabled MPs to participate in questions and debates, while also ensuring that they and the staff of the House of Commons were kept safe. However at Government insistence, and in breach of their own advice to work at home wherever possible, Parliament has been recalled.
Rachael Maskell has therefore had to travel back to Westminster to ensure that the voice of her constituents is heard and to vote on Parliamentary business. In travelling down to Westminster, the MP noted how the train operator had not made sufficient adjustments to practice social distancing, Having walked through London to Parliament, to avoid travelling on public transport and further risk the spread of infection. Since being in Parliament she has noted a number of breaches of safety processes and will be raising these with the House authorities. She has already made a submission to the Procedures Committee about her concerns of Parliament having to sit in Westminster when virtual proceedings were working so well.
The MP took part in the first questions session in Parliament on the situation in Hong Kong, and as ever will take every opportunity to participate in Parliamentary business.
Rachael Maskell MP, “When around a third of MPs cannot attend Parliament, and when hybrid proceeding of combining virtual proceeding and proceedings in the House of Commons was working perfectly well, it is ridiculous that the Leader of the House, Jacob Rees Mogg has forced MPs back to London to participate in Parliamentary processes. This reinforces his elitist views of Parliament, that you cannot speak for the nation unless you do so from this nineteenth century palace. It is time that Parliament sought to be as inclusive and modernised.
“Many older MPs and those with underlying health conditions are now denied a voice and a vote. I have concerns that I will be exposed to greater risk of infection and while taking every precaution possible could spread the virus to others. Covid-19, is an invisible killer, it is as dangerous and potent as ever. We must all do everything possible to protect each other from infection spread, and this includes remaining at home wherever possible. My fear now is that we could be on the cusp of a second wave of infection, causing more tragic loss of life. Parliament should be setting the example, not risking others.”
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