Jacob Rees-Mogg humiliates Lib Dem MP in brutal Commons clash: 'I shall ignore you!'

Posted on May 20 2020 - 11:37pm by admin

The former Deputy Chief Whip under the Liberal Democrat-Conservative coalition Government said Boris Johnson’s Government wants MPs to undertake “non-essential journeys” to return to Parliament during the coronavirus crisis, adding: “In my case, almost the entire length of this country, to stay in second homes – something which when done by leading Government advisers led to their resignation. If ever there was a case of do as I say, not as I do, then this is it.”

Mr Carmichael said he found the virtual arrangements “stilted and artificial”, but added: “If it’s a choice between that and putting the safety of members, their families and staff of the House at risk, then that is no choice at all and it should only end when safe to do so.”

He said it has been reported the motivation for the MPs’ return is to “get a support act” behind Boris Johnson at Prime Minister’s Questions, adding it had been claimed Mr Rees-Mogg suggested “perspex screens” should be installed in the chamber to get more MPs inside.

“Someone has obviously told him how things are being done at Tesco these days,” Mr Carmichael added.

But Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg promptly hit back at the Lib Dems MP saying his comments were “beneath him”. 

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Mr Rees-Mogg said the point raised about bolstering support for Mr Johnson at PMQs is a “fundamentally trivial one”, and he would “ignore” it, adding the chamber’s return will be in line with Government advice.

He said: “I am very sorry that the Right Honourable Gentleman doesn’t think that proper scrutiny of the Government is an essential task of democracy.

“I think it’s an extraordinary position for a former member of the government and a leading figure, if the Liberal Party has leading figures, but a leading figure in the Liberal Party, to take.

“Democratic accountability is fundamental to how our system works.”

He added: “People working in the House, the employees of the House are able to work safely and the numbers expected to come in are not thought likely to rise significantly when the House returns at Whitsun.”

Shadow Commons leader Valerie Vaz asked if Mr Rees-Mogg had held talks with Public Health England and urged him to publish any advice it had given him.

She added to Mr Rees-Mogg: “He keeps saying if others are going to work, the Government expects us to go to work – we are at work, we are at work at all times and the Government’s own advice is if you can work from home then do so.”

Ms Vaz also pressed for answers on how Commons staff will be protected, with Mr Rees-Mogg having said the House authorities have said Parliament will be a “Covid-19 secure workplace by the time we come back after the Whitsun recess” and that a risk assessment has been carried out.

Mr Rees-Mogg added: “There’s extra cleaning going on, the same mechanisms will be used… as are used on the London Underground to try and ensure there’s safety.

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