Jacob Rees-Mogg ‘is pushing for normal PMQs’ before summer recess after Boris declared Freedom Day can go ahead on July 19 – but Speaker Lindsay Hoyle could keep some Covid rules until next term
- Questions on Commons chamber rules as Covid restrictions set to go in England
- Jacob Rees-Mogg is said to be pushing for a normal PMQs session before recess
- Speaker Lindsay Hoyle expected to keep some rules but numbers to increase
Jacob Rees-Mogg is pushing for a ‘normal’ PMQs session to happen before the summer recess after the government confirmed plans for ‘Freedom Day’ on July 19.
The Commons Leader is keen to hold a session free of Covid restrictions on the Wednesday of that week – just before the House breaks up for its summer recess.
Speaker Lindsay Hoyle is expected to allow more people into the chamber and masks are likely to be optional – but he could maintain some of the coronavirus rules on who can contribute.
Before the pandemic hundreds of MPs would routinely cram into the chamber for PMQs, but since last Spring just a few dozen have been allowed to attend in person.
Currently the limit is 64 MPs, after microphones were installed in the under galleries of the House to boost participation.
Questions have been raised about what will happen to the rules in the Commons chamber after Boris Johnson (pictured at PMQs last week) announced most restrictions are set to be axed in England on July 19
Before the pandemic hundreds of MPs would routinely cram into the chamber for PMQs, but since last Spring just a few dozen have been allowed to attend in person
Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg is keen to hold a session free of Covid restrictions before the House breaks up for its summer recess
Masks must be worn when members are not speaking, and there is a call list that dictates the order in which people contribute.
The temporary procedures that mean MPs can contribute to proceedings via Zoom are no due to expire until July 22.
However, Sir Lindsay is the arbiter of how business is conducted, meaning he has the final say on capacity and whether face coverings are needed.
Last night Boris Johnson signalled a ‘big bang’ end to lockdown in England, saying it was now or never for a return to normality despite the pandemic being ‘far from over’.
Legal requirements for masks and social distancing are set to be ditched from July 19, along with limits on gatherings and mass events.
A final decision on whether to press ahead on July 19 will be taken at the start of next week but seems almost certain to be approved.
One senior Commons source said Mr Rees-Mogg would not ‘tread on Mr Speaker’s toes’ – but would be arguing for things to go ‘back to normal’ as quickly as possible.
‘You could have a packed PMQs on the Wednesday,’ they said. ‘I expect Jacob will encourage MPs to come back.
‘We have always moved in lockstep with the rest of the country and this should not be any different.’
But senior figures say Sir Lindsay is likely to maintain the call list system for the last few days of term – although the numbers allowed in the chamber would be increased.
Although more people could be allowed into the chamber Speaker Lindsay Hoyle is expected to maintain some of the coronavirus rules until the end of term
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