Slow-moving Commons debates the key issues of March
Something called the coronavirus had become a pandemic, a minister told MPsJust as Matt Hancock was explaining at the Downing Street press conference how he hoped his test, track and trace app might work to ease the lockdown, parliament was finally getting the opportunity to debate the coronavirus regulations the government had put in place back in March. Though debate might be putting it a little strongly. The tech in the new virtual Commons isn’t up to allowing any interventions, so what we actually got was each MP making an uninterrupted five-minute speech.The junior health minister Edward Argar appeared slightly bewildered by the need for even an ersatz debate. And you could rather see his point. The real key date here is this Thursday, when the government is obliged to say whether it plans to maintain the emergency powers or introduce some form of relaxation, so being asked to justify the current regime that had been in place for six weeks and might change in a few days’ time felt a wee bit pointless.