Norfolk MP George Freeman describes Parliament as laughing stock - how did your MP vote?
- Credit: UK Parliament
Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman has criticised the government’s decision to force MPs back to Parliament amid the coronavirus lockdown.
Today MPs have backed the government’s proposal to bring an end to remote voting, thereby requiring them to appear in person to take part.
The proposal announced by Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg saw parliamentarians forming queues several hundred metres long in order to obey social distancing rules - despite the Lords planning a move online.
It was approved by 261 votes to 163, majority 98, while an amendment to allow remote voting to return was defeated by 185 votes to 242, majority 57, following a 46-minute division.
But the decision has attracted fierce criticism from some MPS, including a number of Conservatives MPs who rebelled when casting their vote.
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Among those who voiced concern over the proposals was MP George Freeman who labelled Parliament a laughing stock on Twitter.
The post said: “Now Parliament [is] a laughing stock. What a nonsense.
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“Just as the rest of the country is harnessing the power of technology to improve productivity, resilience & engagement (as the #LiaisonCommittee @bernardjenkin did brilliantly) Jacob insists @UKParliament goes back to the 18th.”
Mr Freeman said it was a very bad decision and, as an asthmatic he was self-isolating and had been unable to get to Parliament to vote.
He said “Voting remotely worked perfectly well. But as an at risk MP I’m paired with an at risk opposition MP - neutralising two votes.”
Clive Lewis, the Labour MP for Norwich South, also expressed fury over the changes.
On Twitter, he said: “Unexessary. [sic] Dangerous. Dystopian.”
However, Chloe Smith, Conservative MP for Norwich North, came out in support of the decision and said she was glad to return to work.
She said on Twitter: “I’m in Parliament today, as MPs return to Westminster in person. We went virtual during the virus, like lots of workplaces, so it’s not as if democracy ever stopped! I’m glad to be back. It’s right that we make our workplace safe and aim to get back to normal.”
How did your MP vote?
George Freeman (Mid Norfolk) - no vote recorded
Richard Bacon (South Norfolk) - no vote recorded
Brandon Lewis (Great Yarmouth) - no vote recorded
Clive Lewis (Norwich South) - no vote recorded
Peter Aldous (Waveney) - for
Elizabeth Truss (South West Norfolk) - for
James Wild (North West Norfolk) - for
Duncan Baker (North Norfolk) - for
Jerome Mayhew (Broadland) - for
Chloe Smith (Norwich North) - for