Emily Thornberry says she hasn’t seen a Conservative MP wear a mask during Commons votes
Labour shadow minister accuses Tories of “positively Trumpian” behaviour
It comes after report Parliament’s bars were exempt from 10pm curfew law
A Labour MP has accused “positively Trumpian” Conservative MPs of never wearing face masks during votes in the House of Commons.
Shadow international trade secretary Emily Thornberry condemned the MPs as “so irresponsible” as she said “so many rules don't seem to apply in Parliament”.
It came after The Times reported Parliament’s bars were exempt from the government’s own 10pm curfew and mask-wearing policy.
The government has since U-turned over the issue, saying Parliament’s bars will shut at 10pm after all.
Thornberry wrote on Twitter:
So many rules don't seem to apply in parliament - its so irresponsible. During votes, whilst increasing numbers of Opposition MPs are wearing masks, I've yet to see a Tory wearing one. And their attitude to social distancing is positively Trumpian https://t.co/9RoURVtdwZ— Emily Thornberry (@EmilyThornberry) September 28, 2020
Yahoo News UK has contacted the Conservative Party for comment.
The 10pm curfew was part of a raft of new laws introduced by Boris Johnson aimed at slowing COVID-19’s resurgence. It has been criticised by businesses, with concerns also raised it may do more harm than good by forcing crowds into the streets at the same time.
On Monday, there was widespread anger after it emerged the bars and restaurants frequented by MPs and Lords in the Palace of Westminster were exempt from the regulations.
They were able to remain open after the curfew because they fell under the description of a workplace canteen.
Watch: How to remove a face covering correctly
The regulations announced by Johnson last week include exemptions for cafes at hospitals, care homes and schools, as well as those providing food to the homeless.
They also say “workplace canteens may remain open where there is no practical alternative for staff at that workplace to obtain food”.
In Westminster, there are relatively few shops surrounding Parliament, particularly late at night, and politicians and staff tend to eat on site.
Health minister Helen Whately said she had been unaware the curfew did not apply to Parliament and seemed unimpressed.
“We in Parliament shouldn’t be sitting round late at night drinking. We have got a job to do when we are there,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Senior Conservative backbencher Steve Baker was also critical, and suggested it would be changed.
“This surely will not last the day, and rightly so,” he tweeted.
The U-turn was announced within hours.
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