Valerie responds to the Business Statement

On Monday 2 November 2020, I responded to a short business statement following the Prime Minister’s announcement of further lockdown restrictions. You can read my full speech below: 

“I thank the Leader of the House for his business statement. My party, of course, agrees with the business changing in this way. We have just heard the Prime Minister make one of the gravest statements. We are going to enter a lockdown of four weeks, and we are asking our fellow citizens to do something that they have not done before. The Leader of the House and the Prime Minister sometimes talk about “Captain Hindsight”, but was the Leader of the Opposition not Captain Foresight, because he called for a lockdown two weeks earlier? He did so because, as the Leader of the House will know, the number of deaths could be higher than it was in March.

We are asking people to stay at home, and many of our colleagues will be staying at home. The Leader of the House read out a list of legislation. In UK Parliament Week of all weeks, many of our colleagues cannot even represent their constituents. They are excluded from taking part in debates. They are excluded from voting. That is not only bad for their constituents; it is bad for democracy. Worst of all, we all have to line up together to vote. There is one simple way of dealing with that. May I ask him again to think very seriously, in this grave time, about us going back to remote voting? Those who can be here and need to be here will be here, but we must think about the safety of the House staff who have to marshal us into what we hope will be two different queues. I ask him to think very seriously, at this very serious time, about us going back to remote voting and to enable our colleagues to take part in debates on behalf of their constituents. I am sure he will agree that it is outrageous that they cannot represent their constituents. They must do that. He must look at this immediately, to save lives and livelihoods.”