MPs' anger as they are forced to queue in Jacob Rees-Mogg's 'conga line'

  • london
  • June 2, 2020
  • Comments Off on MPs' anger as they are forced to queue in Jacob Rees-Mogg's 'conga line'

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MPs told of their anger as they were forced to queue in a “conga line” in order to vote on a proposal to end virtual voting.

Politicians posted photos, videos and selfies on social media showing rope pens snaking through Westminster Hall where hundreds of MPs have to queue to take part in votes.

Tory MP Tim Loughton said: “So this new socially distanced voting system working well – hopefully we will get there before it’s dark.”

He added: “So it has just taken 42 minutes to get everyone through the voting lobby when we usually have 8 minutes before the doors are locked and a lot of people are paired and not here today.

“Would have preferred queueing for IKEA at least you could get a snack at the end. Off we go again.”

Conservative MP Nusrat Ghani quipped: “How very British. We could vote electronically and crack on with business in Parliament or we can stand in queues.”

Fellow Tory Michael Fabricant added: “Anyone watching the voting live on @BBCParliament would see what an embarrassing shambles it is.”

Labour’s Neil Coyle wrote: “Ridiculous already. Glad it is not raining.” His colleague Tulip Siddiq added: “At least when you queue up at Greggs you get a doughnut at the end.”

Lib Dem Wera Hobhouse said: “Surreal scenes whilst queueing to cast my vote in Parliament today…Thinking about the colleagues, and the constituents, who are not represented due to no fault of their own. This Government is making a mockery of democracy.”

Labour’s Kerry McCarthy said the queue was “stretching back to Portcullis House” while the SNP’s Stewart McDonald called it “absurd”.

Meanwhile Louise Haigh posted a selfie adding: “Queueing up outside Westminster to vote against having to vote in Westminster.”

Labour’s Ian Byrne, who was wearing a facemask to vote, said: “The utter madness of this charade is that as well as putting lives at risk, it may result in a democratic process which excludes 100s of MPs shielding having the ability to participate.

“I hope Parliament brings Mogg to his senses and halts his batsh** ideology.”

Lib Dem Daisy Cooper joked: “BREAKING: the MP queue for the mother of all Parliament is “WORLD BREAKING” (12 mins in and we haven’t even got out of the portcullis cafeteria yet…)”

Labour MP Rachael Maskell tweeted: “Voting is completely unsafe. This is how infections spread.”

A major revolt has erupted against Jacob Rees-Mogg’s plan to make all MPs vote in person in Parliament, despite protests that it will disenfranchise vulnerable MPs.

Critics said the plan would lead to a one-kilometre queue to vote in Commons divisions.

MPs returned to Westminster this morning after a recess and the Government dropping virtual proceedings. The Government argues that MPs must be present in the chamber for it to properly do its job.

Former Tory cabinet minister Karen Bradley is leading a rebellion against Mr Rees-Mogg’s proposals. She has put forward amendments that would allow MPs unable to travel to Westminster to participate virtually.

Labour and opposition parties have also tabled an amendment to retain remote voting.

The hybrid system which allowed MPs to either attend Parliament or contribute via Zoom has been in place since the end of April.

Mr Rees-Mogg argued that democracy would “once again flourish”, having been “curtailed under the hybrid halfway house” which allowed MPs to take part in debates and vote remotely while up to 50 were in the chamber.

He also insisted that the Government is working to establish how shielding MPs could continue to take part.

One Tory MP described Mr Rees-Mogg’s proposal to end virtual voting as “discriminatory” this afternoon.

Caroline Nokes told the Commons: “As chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee I have to endorse the comments of the shadow leader of the House.

“These measures do not just look discriminatory – they are discriminatory. Instantly a number of groups of protected characteristics are excluded – those who are pregnant or new mothers, older members might be advised not to come here via public transport.

“The underlying health conditions of either members or their families re to be frank none of our business. But they will be excluded.”

Labour MP Luke Pollard posted a video of himself in front of the pens saying: “Just behind me is where hundreds of MPs are going to be going the Mogg conga.

“We’re going to be queueing. It’s going to be like queueing for a ride at Alton Towers that just turns out to be a bit sh**. This is a terrible way of doing things.”