Business of the House Debate

Full Debate: Read Full Debate
Department: Leader of the House

Business of the House

Sir Edward Leigh Excerpts
Thursday 16th July 2020

(2 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Leader of the House
Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg - Parliament Live - Hansard

May I congratulate the hon. Lady on the birth of her child in February? There is no greater joy than a new life coming into the world. As regards how this House operates, the Procedure Committee is looking at the issue of proxy voting for maternity and paternity leave, which seems to be a scheme that has worked well. I know that the hon. Lady gave evidence to the Procedure Committee recently on that subject. Ultimately, though, Parliament must be a coming together of Members from across the country physically, and as soon as it is safe to have it entirely physical once again, that is what we must get back to.

Sir Edward Leigh Portrait Sir Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard

May I make a controversial statement—that we live in a parliamentary democracy? As regards wearing face masks, I do not think that there will be time, because the order has not been laid, to have a debate. Surely the Leader of the House—indeed, the Government—in a matter as controversial as the enforced wearing of face masks from an increasingly authoritarian Executive, know that there should be a debate here and a vote. After all, this is highly controversial and everybody in the country has a view. Up to 70 million people will be affected by it. Lincolnshire has an infection rate of 150 in 150,000, so we have natural social distancing anyway. Why can we not just have more democracy and less authoritarianism from this Government?

Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg - Parliament Live - Hansard

As I understand it—although I will be corrected if this is not right—it is a made affirmative statutory instrument that will have to come to the House in due course, in accordance with the normal procedures. But my right hon. Friend is absolutely right; we are a parliamentary democracy, so decisions made by the Government have to be supported by this House. It is worth bearing in mind that the House passed the emergency legislation which provided the powers for these things to happen.