Blogs > John Glen Salisbury MP Diary > 22nd April 2020

22nd April 2020

22nd April 2020

Parliament returned this week – but in a very unfamiliar form.

For the first time, our democracy is being conducted by a hybrid Parliament, with far fewer MPs physically in attendance and questions, debates and committees conducted remotely via Zoom.

Up to 120 MPs can take part in proceedings virtually at any one time, with up to 50 in the chamber under strict social distancing rules.

A number of constituents have written to me in recent weeks expressing the view that it is important to morale to see the business of government continuing as normally as possible in these unprecedented times.

However, Parliament had to follow its own social distancing advice. Voting lobbies and corridors are narrow and get crowded and, in normal times, small offices in Westminster are shared by multiple staffs.

I expect the technology will throw up some interesting quirks and challenges while we settle into the new system but we cannot expect others to make sacrifices and work remotely and not be prepared to do the same where it is both eminently possible and sensible to do so.

I hope that the hybrid Parliament is a welcome innovation and helps to reassure people that scrutiny continues and all MPs are at work – not just the ministers who appear in the daily briefings.

MPs continue to be encouraged to work from home wherever possible and I am therefore staying put in Salisbury for the time being.

As well as answering constituency correspondence, throughout the lockdown I have been conducting large meetings every day via videolink, as part of my Treasury brief, working hard to ensure the swift dispersal of interest free loans to business.

I have even been able to make two appearances on the News at One, just by propping my phone up on a cushion and filming myself!

At the time of writing, over 12,000 CBILS loans have been approved and over £2bn has been given out.

I am helping my own constituents and also working with colleagues across the country to escalate cases with UK finance.   

We are working flat out to streamline banks’ processes and are being extremely frank with lenders wherever anomalous decisions are taken that are not in line with the spirit of the scheme.

Posted by John Glen at 9:26am

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