PRESSURE is growing on Boris Johnson to scrap “shambolic” plans to force hundreds of MPs to return to Westminster, with warnings it could breach the Treaty of Union if it leads to inadequate representation for Scotland.

The UK is expected to push for Commons voting to be restricted to those physically present when Parliament re-opens this week, instead of the hybrid model including remote participation which has been operating since April. 

The plan has been widely criticised over the potential risk of spreading Covid-19 and a lack of representation for constituents if their MP cannot return for health reasons or due to issues such as childcare. 

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard said Johnson’s plans to shut down virtual participation in Parliament were a “total shambles”.

He said: “The SNP has been clear from the start that virtual participation must continue – that is the best way to do our jobs and protect public health, in line with the guidance across the four nations.

“The Tories have some serious questions to answer. Instead of accepting the cross-party consensus to retain hybrid proceedings, they are forcing MPs from across the UK to travel hundreds of miles to Westminster – and all because the Prime Minister isn’t very good at his job and wants to be surrounded by braying backbench Tory MPs.” 

The party’s shadow leader of the house added that if the plans were not reversed the SNP will “balance protecting public health and Scotland’s democratic voice by sending the minimum number of MPs required to hold the UK Government to account”, with most MPs working in their constituencies and committees that meet remotely.

SNP MP Owen Thompson has written to the Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg saying scrapping remote voting is likely to limit the participation of Scottish MPs, which would be in breach of the Treaty of Union.

He said: “The rush to cut off the hybrid parliament is cutting off participation for Scottish MPs who cannot safely travel to speak and vote in the limited space of the chamber. 

“I believe this stands in breach of the Treaty of the Union which requires adequate representation for Scotland, and I urge the UK Government to think again.”

Yesterday the Speaker of the House Sir Lindsay Hoyle also warned of the dangers of forcing MPs to return, saying: “The fact is I’m very worried about somebody coming in who may be infected and before we know it, that has been passed around.”

A report by the Commons Procedure Committee recommended the virtual arrangements should continue, as the best option for MPs unable to return to Parliament.