Prime Minister Boris Johnson will face his last PM Questions session today as the UK parliament shuts down a week early due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Parliament was initially scheduled to close down on Tuesday 31 March for the Easter Break and reopen on the 21 April. However, as the UK is now going through its second day of lockdown as well as to reduce the risk of politicians and staff from getting infected, the decision has been made to shut down parliament today.
The decision to close parliament early has been met with mixed responses from cabinet MP’s. Labour’s Wes Streeting expressed his concerns about shutting down parliament before key issues such as assistance for the self-employed citizens, COVID-19 testing kits as well as protective kits for NHS workers had been addressed.
He went on to tell Sky News “Our ability to hold the government to account and push them in the right direction is seriously diminished when parliament is in recess. This doesn’t feel right,”
However, the risk to government officials and staff is far too great to continue meeting. Already MP’s have been going against the same social distancing measures they have placed on the general public as they sit bundled together in the House Of Commons.
With the early shut down of parliament, this means that today’s PM questions may be the last until parliament resumes after Easter.
SNP leader Ian Blackford questioned the Prime Minister on the steps government were taking to protect the self-employed stating:
“Last Friday, the self-employed were promised by the prime minister and the chancellor that help was coming… but they and we are still waiting,”:
Boris Johnson urged that affected to be patient as the government was trying to address their needs as quickly as it could, adding:
“We are working as fast as possibly can to get an appropriate package of support.”
The question now remains on how issues facing the different constituencies will now be addressed with the shut down of parliament.