COVID-19: MPs pack Home of Commons for first time in 17 months – however make totally different decisions on face masks | UK Information

The Home of Commons has seen packed benches for the primary time since COVID gripped the UK – with totally different decisions being made by MPs throughout the chamber on whether or not to put on a face masks.

With parliament recalled to debate the disaster in Afghanistan, MPs sat shoulder-to-shoulder on either side of the Home.

Most on the Labour and opposition benches selected to go for a face overlaying, however many Tories determined to not.

Stay updates as MPs talk about Afghanistan

Most MPs on the opposition benches chose to wear a face covering
Most MPs on the opposition benches selected to put on a face overlaying

It was the primary time since March 2020 that MPs have been crammed into the Home with no requirement to comply with social distancing tips or to put on a masks.

The emergency debate was the primary to be held below the post-COVID parliament guidelines the place MPs needed to attend in particular person in an effort to say one thing.

MPs are now not in a position to dial into Commons proceedings through providers resembling Zoom, which grew to become the norm in the course of the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Forward of the talk, civil service and public sector union boss Dave Penman urged MPs to point out their respect to parliamentary colleagues and employees by sporting face coverings.

On Twitter, the final secretary of the FDA civil service union known as for MPs to “display you care”.

Nonetheless, just a few MPs sitting on the benches behind Boris Johnson have been seen sporting a masks because the prime minister opened the talk.

Well being Secretary Sajid Javid, House Secretary Priti Patel and International Secretary Dominic Raab selected to not use any face overlaying.

Final month Mr Javid was compelled to subject an apology after he was broadly criticised for saying individuals ought to now not “cower” from the coronavirus.

Worldwide Commerce Secretary Liz Truss, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Therese Coffey, the work and pensions secretary, have been additionally amongst these sitting on the entrance bench not sporting a face masks.

The Tory benches were mostly filled with MPs choosing not to use face coverings
The Tory benches have been largely crammed with MPs selecting to not use face coverings

Former well being secretary Jeremy Hunt could possibly be seen on the Conservative benches instantly behind Mr Johnson, however was largely seen sporting a masks.

Ex-prime minister Theresa Might was additionally at odds with most of the Tory MPs sitting round her as she donned a blue face overlaying, solely eradicating it when she made an early contribution to the talk.

On the opposition benches, Labour chief Sir Keir Starmer, Liberal Democrat chief Sir Ed Davey and SNP Westminster chief Ian Blackford have been amongst these utilizing face masks.

Former prime minister Theresa May only removed her face mask when speaking during the debate
Former prime minister Theresa Might solely eliminated her face masks when talking in the course of the debate

Forward of creating a contribution, some MPs and occasion leaders sporting a masks would take away the overlaying a number of minutes earlier than talking.

Speaker of the Home Sir Lindsay Hoyle got down to MPs moments earlier than the talk began how proceedings had returned to what was final skilled 17 months in the past.

He stated: “I want to remind the Home that the provisions which permit for the hybrid participation within the chamber are now not in place.

“All contributions to proceedings will as soon as once more be made out of inside this chamber.”

The House of Commons was packed with MPs for the first time since March 2020
The Home of Commons was filled with MPs for the primary time since March 2020

Requested why numerous MPs weren’t sporting masks within the Home of Commons, the prime minister’s official spokesman stated it was a matter for the parliamentary authorities.

The spokesman stated the recommendation “nonetheless stays” that face coverings must be worn in indoor crowded areas.

However he added: “The preparations for the Home are a matter for the parliamentary authorities, as you recognize masks usually are not a compulsory requirement.”

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