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Speaker’s Statement

Volume 675: debated on Tuesday 21 April 2020

The House is meeting today in exceptional and unprecedented circumstances. I expect today’s proceedings to be short and limited to what is necessary to enable wider participation in the proceedings of the House from tomorrow onwards and the House to be given information about the business for future days. I ask all hon. Members who are present in the Chamber to observe the guidance that has been issued about social distancing not only in relation to each other, but in relation to staff of the House who are in the Chamber and, indeed, myself. Questions to the Secretary of State for Justice will now take place next Monday.

I am exceptionally allowing the Leader of the House to move two motions without formal notice, based on the same criteria I set out on 19 December 2019. I am allowing the motions to be moved because informal notice was given last night, albeit later than I would have wished. I know that the motions arise from decisions of the House of Commons Commission and have broad support across the House; they allow for wider participation in the business of the House and scrutiny of the Executive, which is crucial at this time. I also note that the Procedure Committee, in its report, which has been prepared at remarkable speed to assist the debate today, supports the principle of the motions being taken without notice.