Tory MP calls SNP ‘lazy’ for virtual parliament calls

A TORY MP has come under fire for calling nationalist and socialist MPs “lazy” and “workshy” for wanting to extend virtual parliament.

Breaking with nearly 700 years of tradition, around 120 MPs have been able to dial into Zoom calls to ask questions – with a further 50 allowed to sit in the chamber under “strict social distancing rules”.

MPs will be returning physically to the Commons again after voting to end remote participation by June 2. 

READ MORE: SNP say Tories could ‘lock Scotland out of Parliament’ with new rules

There will still be a maximum of 50 people allowed in the chamber during debates but votes will once again be cast by MPs lining up either side of a narrow corridor.

This has raised concerns about social distancing and hundreds of MPs voted against the proposal, including the majority of the SNP, LibDems and Labour parties.

Reacting to this, Tory MP Henry Smith tweeted: “Not that I should be surprised by the lazy left but interesting how work-shy socialist and nationalist MPs tried to keep the remote Parliament going beyond 2 June.”

He recieved backlash from the SNP.

SNP MP Alison Thewliss, who represents Glasgow Central outlined the benefits of digital voting.

She tweeted: “I’ve worked every single day of lockdown, answering emails, dealing with cases, trying to get answers from UK Gov departments for constituents, while looking after kids at home. Colleagues have done likewise. The digital Parliament has allowed us to work efficiently and safely.

“@digiminster’s electronic voting means I can cast my vote in seconds, rather than wasting 15mins per vote traipsing through voting lobbies. Remote working for @CommonsTreasury means we can hear insightful evidence from witnesses from around the world.

“I’m not making low paid staff come in, putting themselves at risk to make @UKParliament  operational just to satisfy the egos of Government MPs. But most importantly of all, I’m not risking being a spreader of a deadly, incurable virus, threatening the safety of my constituents.”

Mike Russell, the Scottish Government’s constitutional affairs spokesman said Smith’s comments show the “stupidity and offensiveness of some Tories”.

He tweeted: “”Not that I should be surprised” … by the arrant , arrogant stupidity and offensiveness of some Tories. The “save ives” bit of the mantra is the same in all 4 nations of these islands, but he doesn’t seem to give a fig for those lives …even of his colleagues..”

SNP politicians have previously praised the virtual parliament, with MSP Gail Ross saying she would reconsider her decision to stand down if current “virtual” elements of the job were made permanent.

And Amy Callaghan, who represents East Dunbartonshire, said digital voting has brought Westminster into the 21st century. 

Labour MPs have also hit out at Smith’s tweet with Tracy Brabin saying Smith’s account must be a “bot” and Alex Sobel saying politicians have been “working harder than ever”.



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