Wednesday 25 March 2020 12:29 pm

Coronavirus: Parliament to shut down for four weeks

Parliament will be suspended from tonight for at least four weeks in response to the government’s new coronavirus measures.

The House of Commons is set to pass an emergency bill today that will bring forward the beginning of Easter recess by one week.

Read more: Prince Charles tests positive for coronavirus

It comes after some MPs were reportedly concerned that it was a bad look for Westminster to still be sitting while the rest of the country was on coronavirus lockdown.

At least 20 MPs have tested positive, or are thought to have tested positive for coronavirus. Health minister Nadine Dorries was the first MP to announced she had tested positive for Covid-19 two weeks ago.

Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg is expected to make a statement at lunch time to set out the plan for the House to rise.

Rees-Mogg said: “I am grateful to parliamentarians and parliamentary staff for coming together to support the completion of emergency legislation essential to the fight against Covid-19. Once this legislation achieves royal assent, parliament will rise.

“Further discussions will continue within government, with the parliamentary authorities and members to ensure parliament operates safely for all those who work there. The legislature must be able to continue its vital democratic functions of conducting scrutiny, authorising spending and making laws.”

Read more: Number of coronavirus deaths in Spain surpasses China

Today’s Prime Minister’s Questions will be Jeremy Corbyn’s last as Labour leader.

It will be an extended session of PMQs, expected to last an hour, and Corbyn will be given more than his usual set of six questions.

A new Labour leader will be announced on 4 April, with Sir Keir Starmer favourite to win the leadership contest.