Falkirk MP not returning to Westminster due to safety concerns

A Falkirk MP has labelled the decision to end remote voting in the Commons as “crazy” and vowed not to return to Westminster “until it’s safe to do so”.

John McNally, of the SNP, will continue to take part in virtual parliamentary meetings but won’t make the journey to London to vote in person while coronavirus travel restrictions remain in place.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended MPs having to queue to vote in the Commons, citing "ordinary" people doing the same when shopping.

However, that doesn’t wash with Mr McNally, who is among those shielding from Covid-19 due to an underlying health condition.

Falkirk MP John McNally. Picture: Michael Gillen.

He said: “Without a doubt, it compromises safety.

“I’m asthmatic. I’ve had a letter issued from the Chief Medical Officer and I’ve no intention of breaking that guidance.

“Even if I wasn’t suffering from asthma, I don’t think I would be putting my family or constituents at risk by travelling to London.

“It’s just crazy. The MPs were trailing out of the Commons for a mile and people are talking to each other shoulder to shoulder. The whole thing is a farce.”

Mr McNally believes it may be some time yet before parliamentary representatives from Scotland feel comfortable travelling to Westminster amid the Covid-19 crisis.

He explained: “The majority of Scottish MPs haven’t been going down there if it’s been possible not to.

“On the All Party Parliamentary Groups, you’re on a Zoom meeting with 18 to 20 people and get to know them quite well and few have said they’ve got any intention of travelling to Westminster.

“I can’t see, until it's safe to do so, why you should be going there. It’s an unnecessary step.

“It’s going against all Public Health England and Scottish Government guidance.

“I don’t think the Tories like the look that we’re getting quite comfortable working from home and they’re trying to take back control and get things through, like the no-deal Brexit.

“People are watching this and thinking, ‘What’s this all about?’”