Lib Dems join calls for virtual recall of Parliament

This week, Nicola Sturgeon took First Minster’s Questions from Scotland’s party leaders in virtual form.

Holyrood is again leading the way on showing how a modern Parliament can continue to scrutinise a government even in these unprecedented times.

Willie Rennie asked about care homes, particularly about how they accepted new residents who may be discharged straight from hospital and about mental health – especially the trauma that NHS workers are being exposed to. You can see him at about 30 minutes in.

It was a really good and thoughtful session with difficult questions being asked and answered in a manner that people are entitled to expect of their elected representatives.

It’s almost a fortnight since Ed Davey first called for a Coronavirus Select Committee to be set up by some manner of internet magic in order to question the government.

MPs from all opposition parties (and even some Conservatives) are now ramping up the pressure on the government to ensure that there is some scrutiny of their decisions.

Most Liberal Democrat MPs have signed a letter to Dominic Raab asking for an immediate recall of Parliament in virtual form.

With public and political unease mounting about the government’s handling of the crisis, people rightly expect these issues to be debated by their elected representatives fully and publicly.

One of the hallmarks of this Government is that it is not really up for being subjected to any sort of scrutiny, but as questions build about the lack of PPE for medical staff, and the millions of people left high and dry without income at this time, we need MPs to be able to hold them to account.

When all this is over, there will be a lot of questions to answer about the way in which the Government prepared for this pandemic. It clearly was not sufficient.

Effective scrutiny by opposition parties is a hugely important part of any democracy and must continue especially at times of crisis.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Tony Greaves 12th Apr '20 - 8:19pm

    Nice to see you back posting Caron! Well done. There is heavy pressure for the Lords to return as well and learn how to do some things remotely. Lots of political lobbying and work going on around the House (significantly led by our lot, as we have come to expect) and the Speaker working hard, to find ways to do things for the time being without hundreds of peers having to crowd into the Chamber.

  • Duncan Greenland 13th Apr '20 - 3:09pm

    Very hard to see any logical objection to both Houses of Parliament being recalled to operate virtually so as to allow ongoing scrutiny of the government.

  • From this, I take it that those calling for a virtual recall of Parliament are also calling for the autumn LibDem conference to also be virtual…

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