ALL MPs have been told by Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg to return to the House of Commons by June 2.

MPs voted 350-258 this afternoon to end virtual parliamentary proceedings on that date, prompting concerns over participation and social distancing.

The Tory MP argued in the Parliament today that MPs should return to their workplaces in line with the UK Government’s ambitions to see schools reopened in England on June 1, saying the digital Parliamentary proceedings do not allow for sufficient scrutiny of policy.

However, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland yesterday conceded schools may not take a “uniform” approach to returning on June 1.

Asked by Alistair Carmichael whether MPs were being asked back to bolster support for Boris Johnson, who has struggled against Keir Starmer at PMQs, Rees-Mogg said that was a “fundamentally trivial” question and refused to answer it.

READ MORE: Jacob Rees-Mogg gets Scottish islands wrong in attack on MP

The decision to have MPs return to the Chamber in line with English schools does not tie in with Scotland’s lockdown approach, under which pupils aren’t expected to go back to classrooms until August. Schools in Wales will also not return in June, while Northern Ireland is aiming for a September start.

The Electoral Reform Society has also warned the Tories’ blinkered and partisan” decision to shut down virtual proceedings will result in the number of MPs able to participate plummeting and representatives from devolved nations being “locked out”.

Speaking virtually from his Perthshire home to Scottish Secretary Alister Jack today, SNP MP Pete Wishart criticised him and his shadow Ian Murray for attending Westminster proceedings in person despite only essential travel being allowed under current lockdown law in Scotland.

He told them: “It’s so disappointing to see the Secretary of State and his Better Together shadow in the House of Commons in London today – their government is telling them to stay at home and not to travel unnecessarily, but there they are in the House of Commons today.

READ MORE: SNP say Tories could 'lock Scotland out of Parliament' with new rules

“The Secretary of State is right though, the virtual proceedings allow Scottish members of Parliament to work from home so why is the Government pulling the plug on these virtual proceedings today?

“He’s the voice of Scots in the Cabinet – what’s he doing there to ensure that Scots voices continue to be heard in the House of Commons on behalf of our constituents and allow us to do our work?”

Jack said Wishart was “jumping the gun” as discussions were ongoing – but just hours later Rees-Mogg advised members should return after Whitsn.

“Under the hybrid proceedings, the time this House is able to spend debating legislation faces being cut by around two thirds," he said.

“We have to recognise that if we persist with the present arrangement it will become harder to make progress in a timely fashion.

“That is why, in line with Government advice for those who cannot do their jobs from home, I am asking members to return to their place of work after Whitsun.”

A spokesperson for Labour leader Keir Starmer has said MPs should be allowed to continue to work from home.

Darren Hughes, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said: "What are ministers afraid of? Shutting down the virtual Parliament to get more MPs cheering the PM on is blinkered and partisan.

"Opposition parties are right to ask the government to think again before guillotining these virtual proceedings. Over the past month, MPs have shown that they can work from home, while the ability to attend remains there for those who can.

"In fact, it can be even more effective than working from Parliament in some ways – voting times have been cut down from up to an hour with social distancing measures, to just 15 minutes.

"We have to keep learning from these innovations as we come out of the pandemic, so we can build a stronger, more effective parliament that reflects the diversity of the whole UK.

"It would be a travesty if ministers shut down a good thing – simply because they were afraid it was working too well."