MPs will return to the House of Commons to vote on Boris Johnson’s deal today.
The rare sitting, held during Christmas recess, has been scheduled after the Prime Minister agreed a last minute deal with the European Union on Christmas Eve.
The deal was given unanimous backing by EU ambassadors and is expected to sail through the UK’s chamber without any issues, despite SNP MPs vowing to vote against it.
It is understood that MPs will also be asked to vote to extend recess until 11th January, rather than 7th January as planned.
MPs have been told the reason for the change of plan is concerns over Covid rates – and that MPs travelling from various parts of the country could fuel further spread of the virus.
As for Wednesday’s session, MPs have are being encouraged to join proceedings remotely.
Yeah no worries, take all the time off you need pic.twitter.com/BbzRaxtm2A— James Felton (@JimMFelton) December 28, 2020
The plans are already attracting criticism on the grounds that other key workers are being expected to go to work during this period.
It also flies in the face of the government’s school plans, with many re-opening in January in spite of concerns it could cause further spikes in coronavirus cases.
Two teaching unions have warned that allowing students to return will put them at risk of catching the new variants of Covid-19.
Members of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) have also reportedly told ministers schools reopening could cause infections to spiral – even if another national lockdown was introduced, according to the Telegraph.
Earlier this month, the Government said exam-year students would go back to school as normal after the Christmas holidays, but the majority of secondary school pupils would start the term online to allow headteachers to roll out mass testing of children and staff.
A meeting was held between ministers, Downing Street officials and the Department for Education on Monday to discuss the plan further, but the DfE would not comment on its outcome.