House of Commons Speaker’s fury over PM’s Covid public announcement

Speaker Fury over PM’s ‘entirely unacceptable’ handling of Covid announcement

Sir Lindsay Hoyle delivered an extraordinary double rebuke to Boris Johnson on Monday, saying it was “entirely unacceptable” that the prime minister held his televised news conference about changes to the Covid-19 roadmap timetable without informing MPs in the House of Commons.

The House of Commons speaker said Johnson “must now lead from the top and follow the guidance” in the ministerial code, which states major announcements should be made first in parliament.

“I will be pursuing this matter with him,” Sir Lindsay said. “I do not find it acceptable at all. Members of this house are elected to come here to serve their constituents, not to serve them via Sky or BBC.”

Health secretary Matt Hancock took questions from MPs at 8.30pm, two hours after the TV announcement.

As he waited on the front bench, Sir Lindsay said: “The prime minister should be here. I am sorry if his dinner would have been affected because I was told he was in Brussels. The nearest Brussels tonight were the sprouts on his dinner being served.

“I say now, prime minister, you are on my watch and I want you to treat this house correctly.”

Sir Lindsay earlier said Mr Hancock’s statement only came after he “got involved” with Downing Street, adding: “We’re not accepting it and I’m at the stage where I’m beginning to look for other avenues if they’re not going to treat this house seriously.”

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