Many thanks to all constituents who have contacted me regarding their concerns about the Coronavirus bill, which will give the government a number of emergency powers during the crisis, and which will be debated in the Commons today.
Labour is working on a number of proposed amendments and additions to the bill. Harriet Harman has already secured agreement from the government that it will be subject to renewal every 6 months. Colleagues are working on amendments to protect disabled people, and on respecting religious beliefs regarding the treatment of the deceased.
There are a number of provisions missing from the bill, which we’d expected to see, including protection for renters, and we’re also hoping for an announcement of further measures to protect the incomes of self employed and freelance workers soon. The situation is very fast-moving, and I’ll share any new information as soon as I can.
I myself will be staying here in the constituency and won’t be attending parliament for the foreseeable future, as the advice not to travel and put the health of others at risk is now very, very stark. But I’m collaborating closely with the small core group of colleagues who are remaining in Westminster to process essential business, including on amendments to the Coronavirus bill. We hope to introduce new procedures soon to enable MPs to carry out more of our work remotely until we can return to London.