MPs who took part in London Black Lives Matter protest urged to self-isolate

Any MPs who broke social distancing rules to take part in the Black Lives Matter protest in London should be prevented from returning to the Commons until after a period of isolation, an MP has said.

Tory Imran Ahman Khan said MPs including former shadow minister Barry Gardiner have “fragrantly flouted the law” and have been “boasting that they have broken social distancing measures”.

Mr Khan called on any MPs involved to be “prevented from rejoining this House until they have undergone a period of self-isolation” for the safety of all those working inside the parliamentary estate.

Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing said MPs who took part “have put themselves at risk” and “should act responsibly”.

It came after thousands of people joined a protest in London on Wednesday over the death of African-American George Floyd in US police custody nine days ago.

Mr Gardiner had earlier posted a video of himself in the middle of the protesting crowd outside Westminster.

Raising a point of order in the Commons, Mr Khan (Wakefield) said: “It has come to my notice that certain members of this House, including well-known members such as the member for Brent North (Barry Gardiner), have fragrantly flouted the law and have joined the protests outside, breaking – in fact boasting that they have broken – social distancing measures.

“I feel that we are going to be placed at risk when there has been such advertised and self-publicised breaking of the law and vectors of the disease that we are fighting, and that this Government is fighting, will be, if he returns to this House, a vector of the disease will be allowed access to spread amongst the hard-working staff here.

“Are there measures in order to make such members who have flouted the law and are now possibly more likely to be contagious or indeed infected by the disease to be prevented from rejoining this House until they have undergone a period of self-isolation to ensure that we do not suffer a threat because of their aberrant behaviour?”

Dame Eleanor told MPs that Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle “has gone to a great deal of effort to make sure that members and staff working here are protected”.

She added: “If any member of this House is openly flouting the rules which we have asked every citizen of the United Kingdom to observe in order to keep this virus under control and to protect the vulnerable and to protect the NHS, then that member is putting not only himself or herself at risk, but is putting everyone else at risk as well.

“I hope that the facts are not as he has stated them, but if it transpires that the facts are as he has stated them then it should be incumbent upon anyone coming into this building, if they know that they have put themselves at risk of contracting or passing on the virus, that they should act responsibly.”

In a tweet sent earlier on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Gardiner said: “Been social distancing since March. Today I broke it to join the #BlackLivesMattter demo outside Parliament and take a knee with thousands of brave young people calling for Justice.”

Responding to a concerned member of the public who worried his actions could be risking public health, Mr Gardiner replied: “Tested negative this week.”

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