Vast majority of Brits think MPs should wear masks in the Commons

·3 min read
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks in the chamber of the House of Commons, Westminster, as MPs gather to pay tribute to Conservative MP Sir David Amess, who died on Friday after he was stabbed several times during a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
The majority of Brits think MPs should be wearing masks in the Commons. (Getty)

More than three quarters of Brits think that MPs should wear face masks when they're in the House of Commons, new research has revealed. 

A YouGov poll showed that 50% of people say MPs should definitely wear masks in the Commons, with a further 29% saying they probably should.

Just 12% didn't think they should - 7% saying they probably shouldn't and 5% saying they definitely shouldn't - while 9% said they didn't know. 

YouGov poll
YouGov poll

The poll comes after Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that public figures "have a role to play to set an example" as he urged people to wear face coverings to avoid further COVID restrictions being reintroduced.

In a Downing Street briefing on Wednesday, Javid said the government would not immediately implement 'Plan B' for tackling coronavirus this autumn, but urged people to take action to help, including getting booster jabs and wearing masks in crowded places.

But his comments came just hours after his MP colleagues packed into the Commons for Prime Minister’s questions, largely without wearing face coverings.

Read more: How many people have had a booster jab in England?

During Wednesday’s Downing Street press conference, Javid said: “As I say, we’ve all got our role to play in this and we the people standing on this stage play our public roles as a secretary of state, as someone in the NHS, as the head of UKHSA (UK Health Security Agency).

“We also have a role to play to set an example as private individuals as well, I think that’s a very fair point and I’m sure a lot of people will have heard you.”

Watch: Government rejects COVID Plan B but will 'stay vigilant'

But Tory MP and leader of the house Jacob Rees-Mogg claimed Tory MPs did not need masks due to their "convivial, fraternal spirit".

Speaking in the Commons, he made the comments in response to SNP MP Pete Wishart, who voiced frustrations with a lack of mask wearing on Conservative benches, urging them to set an example.

Rees-Mogg replied: "I would say there's no advice to wear face masks in workplaces, and the advice on crowded spaces is with crowded spaces with people that you don't know.

"We on this side know each other."

He added: "It may be that the honourable gentleman does not like mixing with his own side, he may want to keep himself in his personal bubble... and I sympathise if that is the case, but we on this side have a more convivial and fraternal spirit and are therefore following the advice of Her Majesty's government."

The legal requirement for people to wear a face-covering in most indoor settings such as public transport, shops and hospitality ended on 19 July.

Speaking on Sky News, Care Minister Gillian Keegan said masks should not be a "sign of virtue" and people should make "sensible choices".

She said: "You'll find more and more as we go into winter people will be wearing masks but we shouldn't make it this sign of virtue or not. People have to make sensible choices.

"We've been criticised by the Labour party who all wore masks in the chamber but at their conference none of them had a mask on."

Watch: How the world could be better after COVID

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