23 June 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems table amendments to stop MPs debating complaints in the chamber
  • Govt must be transparent on guidance behind decision to relax lockdown
  • Govt must guarantee scrutiny in Parliament as daily COVID updates cease

Lib Dems table amendments to stop MPs debating complaints in the chamber

The Liberal Democrats have tabled amendments to the Independent Complaints Scheme which will prevent Members of Parliament from debating and voting on motions concerning complaints made in Parliament.

The amendments tabled to a motion set to be debated later today are crucial for protecting anyone who makes a complaint. It would give the independent panel the power to take action following complaint investigations such as the expulsion or suspension of MPs.

Following the amendments being tabled, Liberal Democrat MP Wendy Chamberlain said:

Parliament should be helping to set an example to all places of work. Allowing a public debate about the decision to be made regarding a complaint is wholly inappropriate and risks causing distress and emotional damage.

Complainants should always be encouraged to come forward, safe in the knowledge that their complaint will be treated sensitively and appropriately. Debating it in a context where there is Parliamentary privilege and the complainant has no right to reply is a draconian proposal.

If the Government have learnt anything from the Me Too movement and the revelations surrounding Westminster then they will ensure this does not happen. I encourage them to adopt my amendment as a priority. It is time for Rees-Mogg to demonstrate the Government are listening to complainants.

Govt must be transparent on guidance behind decision to relax lockdown

Responding to today’s announcement from the Prime Minister that lockdown measures will further ease from 4 July, including a relaxation of the two metre social distancing guidance, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

People up and down the country will be relieved to know they can soon spend more time with loved ones, and that businesses at the heart of our communities may soon be able to reopen.

However, we still lack the fully-functioning test and trace system we urgently need to keep people safe. Ministers must guarantee this will be sorted before 4 July, and must be completely transparent about the science behind the decision to ease the two metre guidance. Until we have a vaccine or a cure for COVID-19, the risks to public health remain all-too-real.

It is vital that Ministers are frank with the public about what will happen if transmission of the virus increases again. The Government must also be ready to provide ongoing support to business as they look to reopen.

The Prime Minister has today outlined plans for the future, but he must now commit to an independent inquiry into the Government’s handling of every aspects of the ongoing crisis.

Govt must guarantee scrutiny in Parliament as daily COVID updates cease

Responding to news that today’s COVID-19 Government press conference will be the last of the daily updates, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

The Government must stand by their commitment to communicate important public health messages in this way as the need arises, to ensure no one misses out on information essential to protecting their health.

Scrutiny must also continue. Ministers must ensure that COVID-19 announcements are made in Parliament first to ensure that they can be scrutinised fully.

Liberal Democrats have called for transparency throughout this crisis. Many questions, not least on protective equipment, testing capacity, and deaths in care homes, remain unanswered. The Prime Minister must take the opportunity today to publicly commit to an independent inquiry into his Government’s handling of this crisis.

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