PMQs today: What time is PMQs today? How to watch PMQs live

Prime Minister Questions will take place using a new “hybrid” format today after politicians passed a landmark bill to create a virtual Parliament amid the coronavirus pandemic. Politicians will use Zoom for the first time ever today to beam into proceedings from their homes. So what time is PMQs today and how can you watch?

A motion was passed on Tuesday to support Parliament functioning virtually from Wednesday.

MPs and Peers are now able to hold Commons and Lords debates using video conferencing.

Additionally work is underway to enable a means of voting online.

A skeleton crew of MPs, including Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle, will attend the Commons in person where possible.

However, for the most part, debates will be conducted online.

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Oral questions, including PMQs today, will take palace during the two hours of each sitting day by video link.

Previously speaking on the unprecedented hybrid proceeding proposals Sir Lindsay said: “It will be a historic moment in our 700-year history to have MPs contributing to Prime Minister’s Questions, urgent questions and statements via video link from the safety of their own homes and offices.

“If it works, the House will consider extending the measures to a fully virtual Parliament as quickly as possible to include debates on motions and legislation and even a system of remote voting.”

Today’s PMQs will be Sir Keir Starmer’s first time participating as the Labour Party’s leader.

Sir Keir will go head-to-head with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab who is deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson who is recovering from coronavirus.

These two politicians will be in the Commons today, while up to 120 MPs will be able to participate in the proceedings via videolink.

A maximum of 50 MPs will be permitted in the Commons chamber in person at any one time, however, this number is expected to be significantly below this limit.

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The new virtual Parliament model is expected to cost £148,793 to set up and £369,267 to run each month according to the Commons authorities.

Originally, Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner had been thought to face Mr Raab today as is the protocol when the Prime Minister is away.

However, given the exceptional circumstances, it is understood Sir Keir will participate on Wednesday.

A Labour source told the Mirror: “Raab is acting PM, so this isn’t a usual situation. It’s more important than ever Labour… hold the Government to account.”

What time is PMQs today? How to watch live

The Commons will continue to meet at its usual sittings times, but will now only take place on Monday, from 2.30pm and from 11.30am on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

The first item of Commons business on Wednesday will be questions for the Secretary of State for Wales from 11.30am followed by PMQ’s at noon.

Screens will be placed around the Commons chamber to enable the Speaker and MPs present in the Commons to be able to see their homeworking colleagues.

MPs wishing to participate int proceedings will need to notify the House of Service in advance after which there will be a planned order for those chosen to be called on.

It is also thought there will be a Ministerial Statement from the Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

After Mr Hancock’s statement, Garston and Halewood MP Maria Eagle is due to present a 10-minute rule motion.

Ten-minute rule motions enable backbench MPs to make their case for a new Bill in a speech lasting up to 10 minutes.

How to watch PMQs live

You can watch the proceedings on the Parliament’s YouTube channel here.

Another option is to watch PMQs live on TV on BBC Parliament.

You can also watch BBC Parliament on the iPlayer from noon.

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Spain coronavirus travel warning: Hotels could stay closed until END OF YEAR

Minister of Labour, Yolanda Díaz, revealed the lifting of lockdown rules will be spread across two periods, but warned the holiday industry will not be a top priority. Spain is in the midst of a State of Emergency, which will run until at least April 26 and is likely to be extended for a further two weeks until May 10. No date has so far been for a partial lifting of restrictions, but Ms Diaz confirmed the process of reopening businesses in different sectors will be “gradual”.

She said: “We are working on two phases for de-escalation, one for the summer and another for the end of the year.”

The first of these will be in June and cover the productive sectors.

The second will last until the end of the year and affect the tourism, culture and leisure sectors in particular.

It will also affect air and maritime navigation, which has been severely restricted with a number of airlines grounding flights in and out of the country and leaving airports deserted.

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Ms Diaz admitted these sectors will have “enormous difficulties” in resuming operations, so a number of measures are currently being looked at to help them.

Last week, the Spanish government began to allow some non-essential workers to return to work as coronavirus lockdown measures were partially eased.

But bar and restaurants in the Costa del Sol have pleaded with the Government to lift restrictions on when they can open, as well as rules around the size of terraces and the relaxation of self-distancing.

Nightclubs in popular holiday hotspots throughout the country are also urging the Government to look at how they could operate if punters have to remain two metres apart.

One businessman told Malaga newspaper Sur.es: “No one is going to go to a disco to dance alone or to spend midnight without being able to get close to anyone.”

Juan Rambla, Vice President of the Andalusian Federation of Clubs and Party Rooms, said: “I prefer not to think about the losses that we are going to suffer.”

Earlier this month, European commission President Ursula von der Leyen warned people against making any summer holiday plans in the continent because of the ongoing uncertainty around when coronavirus restrictions might be lifted in different countries.

When Brits are eventually allowed to holiday in Spain again, they will likely be advised to wear masks when out in public.

They will have their temperature taken when arriving at airports and ports as coronavirus checks continue.

Tourism leaders have also warned holidaymakers will have to sunbathe six feet apart on usually packed beaches – even after the end of the coronavirus crisis.

Spain’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak is nearing 21,000 and has the third highest number of fatalities from COVID-189 behind the USA and Italy.

On Monday, health officials confirmed a further 399 people had died from coronavirus over a 24-hour period.

But this is significantly down from a week ago when this figure was close to 1,000.

Despite coronavirus infecting more than 200,000 people in the country so far, health officials insisted the spread of the disease is slowing.

Health Emergency Chief Fernando Simon told a news conference on Monday the rate of new infections is continuing to fall.

Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.

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New York lockdown: Is New York on lockdown? Should I travel to New York?

New York is the state of origin for thousands of coronavirus cases in the United States. Countries and states around the globe are implementing stringent measures to curb the spread of the deadly disease such as national lockdowns and school closures. As it stands, more than a third of the world’s population is under some form of restriction, but is New York on lockdown and can you travel there right now?

On Monday, US President Donald Trump revealed coronavirus deaths in the US are expected to peak in the next two weeks.

President Trump’s top scientific adviser warned the outbreak could kill up to 200,000 Americans.

The US leader announced he was extending the 15-day period of social distancing in the USA, which was due to expire on Monday, until April 30.

In a White House briefing, Mr Trump said his remarks last week which said the US economy would be running again by Easter were “aspirational”.

Mr Trump said: “The modelling estimates that the peak in the death rate is likely to hit in two weeks.

“The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end.

“Therefore we’ll be extending our guidelines to April 30th to slow the spread.”

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The United States now has the most coronavirus cases in the world, surpassing the figures for China where the outbreak first began.

More than 155,000 cases have been reported in the US, 66,000 of which have been confirmed in New York.

The United States, which was relatively slow in getting its testing programme underway, has now significantly ramped this up across the country.

The country has also shut down venues where large numbers of people congregate, such as schools and educational institutes.

Of the United States’ 156,602 cases, there have been 2,880 deaths.

In New York, there have been a total of 66,497, making it the most infected state, reporting 50,000 more cases than the second most infected state of New Jersey.

New York has seen 1,218 deaths, more than 40 percent of the total number of deaths across the country.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is holding daily news conferences amid the coronavirus crisis.

The governor noted more than 9,000 people are currently in hospital suffering from COVID-19.

He said: “What’s happening in New York is not an anomaly.”

Mr Cuomo added New York’s situation is a “canary in the coal mine” for other states in the country.

He added New York will share lessons about this virus which will prove instructive for other states.

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Mr Cuomo emphasised his previous statewide order to stay at home, calling it a mandate, not a recommendation.

He said: “If you leave the house, you are exposing yourself to danger.

“If you leave the house you are exposing others to danger.

“I know staying at home can be boring or oppressive but it’s better than the alternative.”

He added: “No American is immune to this virus.

“I don’t care if you live in Kansas. I don’t care if you live in Texas.”

Is New York in lockdown?

New York citizens have been told to stay at home and all non-essential businesses have closed.

The US President appears to have changed his mind about the possibility of imposing a quarantine on New York.

He wrote on Twitter: “On the recommendation of the White House coronavirus task force, and upon consultation with the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, I have asked the CDC to issue a strong travel advisory, to be administered by the governors, in consultation with the federal government.

“ A quarantine will not be necessary.”

The tweet came hours after he told reporters a quarantine was wanted in New York by some people as it was a “hot spot”.

Should you travel to New York?

As of March 16, it is impossible for many British citizens to enter the USA if they have been in the UK, Ireland, Schengen zone, Iran or China within the previous 14 days.

US citizens and permanent residents of the USA, certain specified close family members and certain other limited categories of visa holders are exempt and still able to enter the USA.

But those permitted entry may be asked to self-isolate for up to 14 days after their arrival.

British nationals will also be unable to transit the USA on an ESTA visa waiver if they have been in the UK, Ireland, Schengen zone, Iran or China within the previous 14 days.

Currently, Britons in the USA are allowed to leave and are advised to make travel arrangements at their earliest convenience.

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