Today (6 Jan) is expected to be a hectic day in Parliament, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson making a statement, before facing off against the opposition leader, Keir Starmer, at Prime Minister’s Questions.
Later in the day, Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, will also address the House of Commons, as will Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, before a vote on the lockdown in England this evening.
The Prime Minister’s statement
Mr Johnson is expected to address MPs in the chamber at around 11:30am, to discuss the most recent Covid statistics, as well as the plans to roll out vaccines across the country during the lockdown period.
At a Downing Street press conference last night, Mr Johnson revealed that, according to the most recent estimates, around one in 50 people in the UK currently have Covid-19, rising to around one in 30 in London.
Prime Minister’s Questions
Following the statement, the PM will face Labour leader Keir Starmer at PMQs, in what is likely to be an uncomfortable half hour for Mr Johnson, after some have criticised the failure to take a decision on closing schools and implementing lockdown until Monday night.
Addressing the nation on BBC last night, Mr Starmer called for a “round the clock vaccine program” and said there were “serious questions for the government to answer” over the timing of the new lockdown in England.
Prime Minister’s Questions takes place every Wednesday at 12pm, when the Commons is sitting.
School closures and online learning
Another minister who will likely face something of a grilling in Parliament today is Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, after the department’s screeching u-turn on school closures this week meant that children went to school on Monday only for schools to be closed from Tuesday onward.
Mr Williamson’s statement is expected at around 1pm, with what will likely be a fiery exchange of questions from MPs to follow.
Many MPs and people around the country are now concerned about the millions of low income families who may not have adequate equipment or internet access for their children to study from home.
Mr Williamson is expected to lay out further plans to help ensure that all children are able to take part in online learning, as some internet providers have agreed to give free data to the households of children who are eligible for free school meals.
Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, will address MPs at around 2:15pm to introduce the debate on a new national lockdown in England.
The Government is expected to win the vote comfortably, with support from the vast majority of backbench Conservative and opposition MPs.
The group of Conservative MPs who have typically been opposed to lockdown measures - known as the Covid Recovery Group (CRG) - is not expected to rebel on the scale they have done for previous votes.
The debate will go on for some hours, with MPs likely taking the opportunity to express their frustrations with the government’s handling of the lockdown, although most will agree that it is necessary.
A vote is expected on the issue at around 7pm tonight.
You can watch the action unfold live on the BBC Parliament channel or online at parliamentlive.tv/Commons.