Work a bit harder! Rees-Mogg lashes out at SNP failing to show up to Commons debates

Jacob Rees-Mogg lashes out at SNP 'Work a bit harder'

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SNP shadow Commons leader Pete Wishart called on Jacob Rees-Mogg to wear a facemask in the chamber. He told MPs: “This is now getting beyond a joke. The scenes from a packed PMQs yesterday were simply a disgrace with barely a facemask on a Tory mush (face). The House staff are now getting increasingly nervous and anxious about what they are observing. It seems like the Tories have absolutely no regard whatsoever for the safety of their colleagues and the staff who are here to support and help us.

“The Government’s own advice states, ‘wear a face-covering in crowded and enclosed settings where you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet’.

He gestured to the Government benches, adding: “I don’t normally meet any of you lot and I am quite happy with that situation. I have got no desire to meet you on a regular basis.

“Yesterday in PMQs this place must have been about the most-crowded enclosed space in the whole of the UK.

“The Health Secretary excused the Tory no-face masks policy, suggesting you can’t catch Covid from friends. Isn’t it the case that this House is sending the worst possible message to the country and contributing to all sorts of confusion?”

Mr Rees-Mogg said in response: “The policy is extremely straightforward, face coverings are not mandatory for members of the House of Commons, the chamber, voting lobbies, Members’ Lobby, and Westminster Hall.

“The advice from Her Majesty’s Government on face coverings is that they are not required by law in the workplace, and the Government removed the legal requirement to wear face coverings in public places in indoor spaces.

“If you are in a crowded indoor space where you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet, wearing a face-covering can help reduce the spread of Covid.

“Is it not interesting that he, and perhaps this applies to the nationalists generally, do not normally meet other MPs? Perhaps, this is because they are not very assiduous in their attendance in the House of Commons?”

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He added: “And is it not a pity that some people don’t like to come to Parliament?

“And if they came a bit more, they worked a bit harder, if they put their elbows to the grindstone, wherever you put your elbows, elbows to the wheel, they might not need to wear face coverings either because they would meet members of Parliament more regularly.”

It comes as leading doctors have expressed dismay over comments made by the Health Secretary about mask-wearing.

Sajid Javid, who has retained his position as Health Secretary in the Cabinet reshuffle, said the Government’s advice was that people should consider wearing face coverings when they were gathered in a crowded space with people they did not normally mix with.


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Mr Javid said a photograph of the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, showing ministers around the table with their faces uncovered, was consistent with that advice.

And Tory MPs do not need to wear masks in the Commons because they are not “strangers”, he added.

But the British Medical Association (BMA) said that the remarks “send a message that the pandemic is over”.

The BMA said that ministers should be “leading by example”.

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