MPs return to Parliament in historic virtual PMQs

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The House of Commons will see its first ever virtual Prime Ministers Questions today as MPs return to Parliament via video link amid coronavirus lockdown.

Up to 50 MPs will be allowed to enter the Chamber while obeying social distancing rules while some 120 more can take part remotely through video-conferencing platform Zoom.

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer he had been “panicking” that the ancient building’s technology will be up to the job.

“I’ll be overseeing, or overturning, 700 years of history so it’s going to be quite an interesting day. Fingers crossed, I’m just hoping everything goes well,” he said.

It is the first PMQs since the House rose early for Easter recess due to coronavirus last month - Sir Lindsay said the “time is right” for MPs to return.

“The electorate elect the Members of Parliament to hold the government to account and in the end it’s only been the press that’s been holding the government to account,” he told Julia.

Today’s session will also mark Sir Keir Starmer’s first time at the despatch as Labour leader, where he will take on Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

Mr Raab is still deputising for Boris Johnson as the Prime Minister continues his Covid-19 recuperation.

Questions are expected to centre on testing, protective equipment for front-line workers and a lockdown exit strategy.

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