In a Parliamentary Question yesterday, the Streatham MP expressed concern over the decision to keep Parliament open to members of the public during the current Coronavirus pandemic.
Ms. Ribeiro-Addy also put forward measures to help slow the spread of disease among Members of the House and their staff.
Addressing the Secretary of State for Health, Matthew Hancock, Ms. Ribeiro-Addy asked: “Does the Secretary of State accept that keeping Parliament functioning as normal, with the public visiting, is simply irresponsible?”
Her question came after Nadine Dorries became the first MP to be diagnosed with Coronavirus, prompting fears about the presence of the virus within the highest levels of government.
This morning, video footage emerged of Health Minister Edward Argar, who is currently in self-isolation after contact with Dorries, coughing and touching his face at the despatch box on Tuesday this week.
Addressing the Health Secretary, Matthew Hancock, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Member of Parliament for Streatham asked:
“Does the Secretary of State accept that keeping Parliament functioning as normal, with the public visiting, is simply irresponsible? As others are encouraged to cancel large meetings, events and unnecessary travel, we instigate large meetings, host events and receptions, and travel from all across the country—vectors, I heard an Hon. Member call us last week. Festivals, concerts and football games have been postponed, but it is business as usual here. We are even holding our surgeries. As we continue to meet hundreds of people weekly, I am concerned that we are potentially spreading the virus. My biomedical training tells me that a number of Members in this House probably already have the virus. I am genuinely concerned about older Members, older constituents and those with underlying health conditions. Will he implement testing for all Members and staff of this House, not for reasons of special treatment but because of all the people we meet and have met in the past few weeks? Will he agree to having electronic voting or automatic pairing for any Member who may wish to self-isolate?”
Notes to Editors:
- Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Question on Coronavirus, Hansard, Volume 673 (11 Mar 2020), https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-03-11/debates/E9C77FF3-6EB8-4A29-8877-33359AB8C414/Coronavirus#contribution-E5197311-8EE1-432B-B3A4-4F95B5748A2B
- Tweet from Adam Bienkov displaying Parliament TV footage of Edward Argar, Minister for Health coughing during a Ministerial address on Tuesday:
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