Dear First Minister of State
Coronavirus – Immediate Virtual Recall of Parliament
We are writing to you as a cross party and crossbench group of MPs and peers to call for an immediate (virtual) recall of parliament.
With the UK recording its worst daily fatality rate yet during the Coronavirus crisis – a cored 980 announced yesterday, a higher number in a single day than any experienced by Italy or Spain, and one that still doesn’t capture properly the deaths in care homes or at home – we should be able to hold the Government to account publicly. With public and political unease mounting about aspects of the Government’s handling of the crisis, people rightly expect these issues to be debated by their elected representatives fully and publicly.
We recognise that it is still not possible for MPs and peers to travel to Westminster to sit in the parliament, but we believe the technological means are there now to ensure that a greater level of remote accountability is possible. While this won’t be perfect, and may not be able to exactly replicate the way parliament normally functions, it would still allow a number of MPs from all parties to be involved. Video-debates, conducted according to the regular procedures and schedules of each House, could be held and streamed to Parliament TV as usual, Oral and Urgent Questions could be asked, and Statements be made.
We look forward to your urgent response.
Caroline Lucas MP (Green Party)
And: Ian Blackford MP (SNP), Ed Davey MP (Liberal Democrats), Liz Savile Roberts MP (Plaid Cymru), Colum Eastwood MP (SDLP), Stephen Farry MP (Alliance Party), Debbie Abrahams MP, Apsana Begum MP, Ruth Cadbury MP, Lisa Cameron MP, Alistair Carmichael MP, Wendy Chamberlain MP, Joanna Cherry MP, Rosie Cooper MP, Daisy Cooper MP, Geraint Davies MP, Martyn Day MP, Allan Dorans MP, Barry Gardiner MP, Christine Jardine MP, Ruth Jones MP, Liz Kendall MP, Claire Hanna MP, Neale Harvey MP, Peter Kyle MP, clive Lewis MP, Anne McLaughin MP, John McNally MP, Layla Moran MP, Kirsten Oswalk MP, Alyn Smith MP, Owen Thompson MP, Philippa Whitford MP, Hywell Williams MP, Munira Wilson MP, Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle, Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb, Baron Wooley of Woodford