MPs urged to stay away from Parliament amid fears they could be ‘superspreaders’

The Commons Speaker is urging MPs to stay away from Parliament as fears mount that it is again becoming a coronavirus hotbed.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle warned that MPs could once again become ‘superspreaders’ of the virus after the disease spread across Westminster in March.

The Speaker also made it clear during PMQs that he would allow virtual participation in debates if the Government brought forward plans.

He told Times Radio: “What we have got to watch out, [is that] MPs could easily become superspreaders because they come from all parts of the country.

“Whatever happens, people’s lives matter most, their health comes first and people with certain medical conditions, people of a certain age – I’m saying you’ve got to look after yourself.

“My advice – and it’s advice not instructions – is to say put yourself first, look after yourself and make sure you are here for the long-term … do not put yourself at risk – that’s either travelling or coming into this building.”

The Speaker said it is up to the House to decide whether to move back to an almost virtual Parliament.

But asked what he would do if it was his decision, he said: “I would say let’s look at it straight away and let’s start to move to a new place.”

Sir Lindsay also lambasted MP Margaret Ferrier, who had the SNP whip withdrawn after travelling while awaiting the results of a Covid-19 test.

He said: “What she did was absolutely ridiculous. It was extraordinary to put everybody at risk when she travelled.

“But also she came into this building, putting others at risk. And that’s not acceptable. That’s bad behaviour.

“That was the mistake – that was absolutely disgraceful and reckless to all of us. And that’s the kind of thing I don’t want to happen.

“And I’ve got to say, we’ve not, as far as I’m aware, and I check all the tags, we’ve not seen that repeated, the one thing we have is probably the best Track and Trace in the country in Parliament.”

Older MPs are being urged to stay away from the House of Commons.

In a series of video calls this week Sir Lindsay advised MPs to avoid making the commute into Westminster, especially if they are in the at-risk age bracket.

There are 24 MPs over 70

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