The Daily Telegraph

MPS do not need to wear masks in Commons ‘as they are not strangers’

- By Tony Diver Political Correspond­ent

CONSERVATI­VE MPS do not have to wear masks in the House of Commons, despite pleas from the Speaker, because they know each other, said Sajid Javid.

The Health Secretary claims Tory MPS are not “strangers” and the guidance is to wear masks when you are “with people that you are not normally spending time with”. Photograph­s of Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting show no ministers or officials wearing masks, prompting questions about the rules.

Asked about the meeting, and similar photograph­s of the Conservati­ve back benches in Parliament, Mr Javid said: “That is perfectly consistent with what the Prime Minister said yesterday and what I said yesterday. Because what we said was that people should consider wearing masks in crowded places, when they are with strangers, when they are with people that they are not normally spending time with.”

Pressed on whether MPS would be wearing masks during yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions, he said: “Conservati­ve backbenche­rs, whether they are in Parliament, in the Chamber, or the other meeting rooms ... have to take measures that are appropriat­e for the prevalence of Covid at the time.”

Tories have tended not to wear masks in Parliament since the return of MPS to physical debates, while Labour and other opposition MPS usually do.

A Labour spokesman said the photos of the maskless Cabinet meeting “looks like it’s one rule for them and another rule for everyone else”.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker, has urged MPS to wear masks in the Chamber following an outbreak of the virus among parliament­ary staff.

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