Government to take public questions at daily coronavirus briefings – here's how to submit one

Yahoo News UK
Home secretary Priti Patel at a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus on Sunday. (Getty).
Home secretary Priti Patel at a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus on Sunday. (Getty).

Members of the public will now be allowed to ask questions at the daily Downing Street coronavirus press conference.

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The briefing, held every afternoon at 5pm by a relevant Cabinet minister along with health and science experts, sees the government held to account by representatives of the British media.

Under the plan, announced on Monday, one question a day from a member of the public will be put to ministers.

Questions will be chosen by an independent polling organisation, a statement on the gov.uk website said.

Questions will be chosen by an independent polling organisation, a statement on&nbsp;<a href="http://gov.uk/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:gov.uk" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">gov.uk</a> said.
Questions will be chosen by an independent polling organisation, a statement on gov.uk said.

“The government is not involved in choosing questions,” the statement said.

The government also promised that ministers will not see the question before the press conference.

How will the plan work?

The statement said submitted questions will be reviewed at midday on the day of the press conference.

If your question is chosen, a cabinet minister will answer it during the live broadcast.

How do I ask a question, and when will I know if it is selected?

If you’re over 18, you can use this service to submit a question by logging on to www.gov.uk/ask.

The selected questioner will be informed by 3pm, two hours ahead of the usual press conference time.

They will then be given the choice of either filming themselves asking the question, with the footage played during the press conference, or having their question read out.

Why have the government decided to include the public?

A government spokesperson told Yahoo News: Coronavirus is the biggest health crisis the UK public has faced in a generation.

"We know people across the UK are making significant sacrifices every day in order to stay at home and protect the NHS, and we recognise the huge disruption this is having on their lives, jobs, and businesses.

"It’s right that the public get the chance to put their questions on the virus and the measures we’ve put in place directly to the Government and the experts."

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At yesterday’s briefing, hospital coronavirus deaths in Britain were 413, taking the total to 20,732, out of 154,037 confirmed cases.

There have been almost 3 million cases of the virus around the world and more than 200,000 deaths.

Boris Johnson will resume the briefings on Monday following his return to Downing Street after over three weeks off sick as he recuperated from his own experience with the coronavirus.

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