Today the House of Commons fully opened its doors to MPs again for the first time since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. Members were summoned back to Westminster so they could vote on new proposals to end the ‘hybrid system’, where politicians were able to Zoom into debates and vote remotely. From tomorrow, MPs will likely have to be physically present in Westminster to vote.
Already the government’s plans though have been subject to some mockery, particularly its scheme for socially distanced voting. To keep MPs sufficiently far apart, the normal voting lobbies have been ditched and instead MPs will have to form a long queue which snakes around Westminster Hall in Parliament. Several MPs have suggested that the system resembles the queue for a disappointing ride at Alton Towers.
Some feared then that Jacob Rees-Mogg, as Leader of the Commons, would not be up to the task of defending the government’s policy in the Chamber today. After all, could the right honourable member for the 18th century really understand the travails of queuing all day at a theme park? Happily (and a little surprisingly) the Moggster confirmed that he had been to Alton Towers in the past, and had taken his sister Annunziata there.
Mr S can only hope that today’s first test of the voting system is a gentler ride than Oblivion…