FDA condemns “reckless” decision to return to physical Parliament
In response to Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg, who has made the decision that the government will not renew the standing orders for a hybrid Parliament, FDA Assistant General Secretary Amy Leversidge yesterday said:
“It’s unbelievable that this decision has been made with no genuine consultation with unions representing staff in Parliament. Parliamentary staff have worked tirelessly to put in place the hybrid Parliament which has allowed MPs to participate virtually, meaning a return to physical Parliament also contravenes the government’s own guidance to work from home wherever possible.
“We do not accept the Leader of the House’s position that MPs cannot continue to work at home effectively with the virtual Parliament. Indeed, Rees-Mogg has offered no explanation for how a return to physical Parliament will allow for increased participation from MPs, as social distancing rules will still apply in the chamber.
“If he has concerns about the capacity of the virtual Parliament then, in the first instance, Parliament should explore improvements to the virtual proceedings. Instead, the Leader of the House has chucked the baby out with the bathwater and ended the hybrid Parliament without giving any detail about what will replace it.
“Parliament presents an enormous challenge in ensuring social distancing given the unique nature of the building and working practises of Parliamentarians. The House says that Public Health England will assess the Palace of Westminster and give a judgement about whether the House should return – it is reckless for the government to announce an end to the hybrid Parliament before this assessment is complete.
“Vague promises bereft of detail are simply not good enough and today’s announcement will leave many staff working under intense pressure, stress and anxiety at the prospect of preparing for a return to Parliament just seven workings days from now.
“We have made clear to Parliamentary authorities that the standing orders for a hybrid Parliament should be renewed until the House presents a clear plan and evidence that shows the return to a full physical sitting of Parliament can be done safely.”
Notes for editors
- The FDA is the union for senior managers and professionals in public service, representing more than 18,000 members at grades HEO and above. Membership includes senior civil servants, government policy advisors, prosecutors, diplomats, tax professionals, economists, solicitors and other professionals working across the Government and the NHS.
- The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) should be referred to simply as "The FDA" and can be described as "the senior public servants' union".
- The FDA can be found on Twitter @FDA_union. General Secretary Dave Penman tweets as @FDAGenSec.
- For more information contact:
- FDA Communications Officer Tommy Newell on 07738 729 145 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- FDA Communications Officer Scott Dobson on 07727 869 640 or email@example.com
- FDA Head of Communications Kay Hender on 07980 700 747 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Latest News from
Sonia Khan: Statement on employment tribunal claim16/11/2020 14:10:00
Former Treasury Special Adviser Sonia Khan recently (13 November 2020) issued a statement on employment tribunal claim.
Northern Ireland ministers “must ensure they do not put partisan interests ahead of effective government” says FDA25/09/2020 14:10:00
FDA National Officer Allan Sampson yesterday responded to the announcement that the First and Deputy First Ministers of Northern Ireland had failed to appoint a new head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
Welsh Government must revise funding to save our museums10/08/2020 12:25:00
The Senedd’s Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee has now published its report on the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on heritage, museums and archives in Wales.
Welsh Government must act to ensure national treasures remain accessible to all, says FDA27/07/2020 10:20:00
The FDA has called on the Welsh Government to invest whatever is needed to protect Welsh national treasures and to ensure everyone in Wales continues to have access to their cultural history.
Parliament's restoration and renewal programme 'must not be derailed by political point scoring', says FDA17/07/2020 14:48:00
FDA National Officer for the House of Commons, Helen Kenny yesterday responded to reports that the Prime Minister has asked officials responsible for the restoration and renewal project to consider relocating Parliament to York.
'All we are asking is for the judiciary to follow government guidance'- FDA writes to the Lord Chief Justice14/07/2020 15:38:00
As the recognised union for prosecutors working in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the FDA has raised serious concerns with the Lord Chief Justice over the approach taken by some judges to applications from prosecutors to appear in court remotely.
Culture sector rescue package highlights failure of current funding models07/07/2020 12:25:00
The FDA represents staff working in museums and galleries across the UK.
Departure of Sir Mark Sedwill: FDA response29/06/2020 16:20:00
FDA General Secretary Dave Penman yesterday responded to the departure of Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill.
FDA welcomes ‘historic moment for House of Commons’ as MPs put trust in independent process24/06/2020 16:20:00
FDA Assistant General Secretary Amy Leversidge yesterday responded to the House of Commons debate on establishing the new Independent Expert Panel to deal with complaints of bullying and harassment against MPs.