Coronavirus: UK Parliament to return virtually on 21 April

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AFP

Parliament is to return virtually on 21 April to debate coronavirus measures, authorise spending and make laws.

“Technological solutions” are being prepared for consideration next week, a spokeswoman for Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said.

It comes after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said MPs must be able to hold the government’s decisions to account.

Sir Keir said many areas had seen a “gap” between the announcement of policies and their implementation.

The hospital death toll has climbed to 9,875 since Parliament shut down on 25 March.

Mr Rees-Mogg’s spokeswoman said Parliament would return to “fulfil its essential constitutional functions” during “unprecedented times”.

“It is important that we have a comprehensive solution that does not inadvertently exclude any members,” it read.

Mr Rees-Mogg will respond to a letter from Sir Keir, in which he said Parliament must return so that it could “subject government decisions and ministers to proper scrutiny”.

Sir Keir said Labour would support the government “where it is right to do so”, but would also ask “difficult and searching questions… where that is necessary”.

The principles of the government’s lockdown exit strategy, the availability of coronavirus testing and personal protective equipment (PPE), and support for social care services, employees and businesses are among the issues he said must be discussed.

“We support the announcements of the government on many of these issues, but it is clear from MPs in many constituencies that there is a gap between the announcements and implementation,” he said.