Clinically vulnerable MPs are still being excluded from parliament

Why is the government refusing to allow clinically vulnerable MPs to take part in debates on legislation? This row has been rumbling on for months, with no apparent enthusiasm from ministers to change the current situation. Today, senior MPs have told Coffee House they believe the government’s actions would be in breach of the Equality Act were this taking place outside parliament. Currently MPs who are shielding at home can ask questions and vote remotely, but they cannot give speeches or intervene in debates on legislation, as well as backbench business and Westminster Hall debates. This morning Conservative MP Tracey Crouch, who is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer, asked

Instead of lockdown, let’s create a National Shielding Service

So what would you do? That was the question that cropped up on my Twitter timeline after I’d sent out various tweets condemning the shambolic decision by Boris Johnson to order another England-wide lockdown. I noticed the same question in the replies to an anti-lockdown tweet sent out by the Mail on Sunday’s Dan Hodges too. And it is a fair one that I think deserves an answer from commentators used to throwing rotten tomatoes at the stage but seldom willing to climb up on it. So here is mine: First, it is too late to call off the lockdown now, as preparations for another approach will take some time.