Kuenssberg says Commons to close TONIGHT – Coronavirus Bill to pass at 'breakneck speed'

BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg has said Parliament will close tonight ahead of its recess as MPs vote on emergency legislation to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

The BBC's political editor Laura Kuenssberg said Westminister is ready to vote on closing Parliament tonight as emergency legislation on a bill with powers to battle coronavirus is very likely to get royal assent. Parliament is due to have a recess for Easter but the COVID-19 pandemic could spark a much longer closure. It comes as Westminister was named as one of the hotspots for the spread of coronavirus as many MPs have self-isolated.

福利网址Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Ms Kuenssberg said: "Parliament has been moving at breakneck speed through this legislation trying to ramp through all these emergency laws.

"It's basically a full set of extra powers for ministers to deal with the crisis as and when they need them.

福利网址"Many of them, the more controversial ones, ministers hope they might never need to pull the trigger on.

福利网址"But they are powers that the Government and Whitehall have concluded that they might need because of the needs of this crisis and how fast everything is moving.

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BBC's Laura Kuennsberg said Parliament will shutdown tonight (Image: BBC)


Boris Johnson has urged Britons to self-isolate (Image: SKY)

"But also today as I understand it as long as the emergency bills go through and get royal assent, which is almost certain, MPs will pack up and the house will rise.

"Westminister has been one of the hotspots for the disease. There are a fair few MPs in isolation.

"There was a heath minister with the virus and recovered who was back at work yesterday.

福利网址"MPs have been told off by the speaker for not sitting far enough apart on the green benches and as I understand it, the motions have been tabled on the order paper today to allow MPs to vote to close Parliament tonight."


Coronavirus has infected thousands in the UK (Image: GETTY)

Parliament was due to close for a three-week Easter break from March 31, but a motion on Wednesday's order paper proposes that it starts a week early, as fears grow that politicians and staff are being put at risk by continuing to work there.

福利网址It had already closed to visitors and reduced the number of lawmakers allowed in the House of Commons chamber to allow them to sit more spaced out in accordance with guidance on social distancing.

House of Commons speaker Lindsay Hoyle also said on Monday that any votes which took place would be adapted to avoid the usual process which can see hundreds of lawmakers crammed into a narrow room together as they are counted through.

The motion, put forward by House of Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, states: "That this House, at its rising today, do adjourn until Tuesday 21 April 2020."


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Coronavirus symptoms (Image: EXPRESS)

Housing minister Robert Jenrick added select committees will continue to be able to scrutinise the Government even if they do not enter the parliamentary estate.

福利网址He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Parliament will return after the Easter break in the usual way.

"There's been another order in Parliament to create ways for select committees for example to operate remotely.

"So I think innovation will happen to make it possible for MPs to hold us to account."

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