Tip: To match a phrase, use quotation marks around the search term. eg. "Parliamentary Estate"

Written Question
Trade Agreements: Parliamentary Scrutiny
8 Jun 2021

Questioner: Tim Farron (LDEM - Westmorland and Lonsdale)

Question

To ask the Leader of the House, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for International Trade on facilitating parliamentary scrutiny of proposed trade deals with other countries before they are signed.

Answered by Jacob Rees-Mogg

I have regular discussions with members of the Cabinet. The Government has put a number of arrangements in place to allow for proper scrutiny of proposed trade deals with other countries by Parliament. This includes publishing negotiating objectives and economic scoping assessments before starting negotiations; regular statements to Parliament and briefings with Members and relevant Parliamentary Committees during negotiations.

At the conclusion of negotiations, there will be opportunity for scrutiny of a final deal and Parliament can resolve against ratification of a treaty under the scrutiny processes set out under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. Any legislative changes required to give effect to a Free Trade Agreement will need to be scrutinised and passed by Parliament in the usual way before ratification of the agreement can take place.


Written Question
Physician Associates: Regulation
21 Apr 2021

Questioner: Anne Marie Morris (CON - Newton Abbot)

Question

To ask the Leader of the House, pursuant to the answer of 15 April 2021 to Question 179125, on Physician Associates: Regulation, what steps he is taking to ensure Departments provide substantive answers to Questions within the requested time frame.

Answered by Jacob Rees-Mogg

It is a recognised fundamental right of Parliament that hon. members receive full and timely responses to Parliamentary questions and I have reminded all departments of the importance of this. I raised my hon. friend’s specific question with the Department of Health and Social Care and I understand that it has now been answered. I will continue to raise hon. members' questions with departments where there is a significant delay or unsatisfactory response.


Written Question
Leader of the House of Commons: Written Questions
5 Mar 2021

Questioner: Kate Osamor (LAB - Edmonton)

Question

To ask the Leader of the House, whether he has had discussions with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the time taken to answer Questions (a) 102133 tabled on 9 October 2020 and (b) 105481 to 105483 tabled on 19 October 2020.

Answered by Jacob Rees-Mogg

During the height of the pandemic, departments were under significant pressure when replying to written questions and correspondence and I had some sympathy with departments. Nevertheless, members must receive full and timely responses when they request information. I continue to raise the hon. members specific questions with the Department for Health and Social Care and have impressed upon it the need to answer these questions as a matter of urgency.


Written Question
Virtual Proceedings
3 Feb 2021

Questioner: Mark Hendrick (LAB - Preston)

Question

To ask the Leader of the House, whether he plans to (a) make an assessment of the effect on the climate of and (b) estimate the savings accruing to the public purse from virtual participation in proceedings by Members of Parliament.

Answered by Jacob Rees-Mogg

No. The Government firmly believes that our constituents are best served when Parliament meets physically to the fullest extent possible. The cost associated with virtual participation is not a matter for the Government but one for the House.


Written Question
Opposition Days: Government Responses
2 Feb 2021

Questioner: Patrick Grady (SNP - Glasgow North)

Question

To ask the Leader of the House, with reference to the Written Statement of 26 October 2017, HCWS199 on Opposition Day Debates and the Answer of 1 November 2017 to Question 110093, whether the Government remains committed to that convention to respond to the resolution of the House by making a statement no more than 12 weeks after the debate.

Answered by Jacob Rees-Mogg

I refer the hon. gentleman to my response during business questions on 28 January (Official Report, col. 570). It is vital that the Government sets out its position on motions tabled by the opposition. In my view that is best done during the debate, in particular in the Minister’s closing remarks that respond to the points that have been raised. The Government will always listen carefully to the views of the House and will continue to make regular oral or written statements to announce policy developments, provide updates and respond to events.


Written Question
Remote Divisions
18 Jan 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Leader of the House, pursuant to the Answer of 12 January 2021 to Question 133774 on Divisions: Electronic Voting, how many hon. Members were (a) unable to use the electronic method of voting and (b) used the back-up system provided for electronic voting during the two weeks that electronic voting was used in the House of Commons in 2020; what discussions he has had with his counterpart in the House of Lords on the operation of electronic voting in that chamber; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Jacob Rees-Mogg

I refer the hon. member to my previous answer (133774), it is the Government’s view that the current arrangements for proxy voting are a better alternative to a system of remote voting. Details regarding the operation and use of the electronic voting system is not a matter for the Government but one for the House.

I have regular meetings with the Leader of the House of Lords. However, what is considered suitable for the House of Lords is not always suitable for the House of Commons and as I have said before, it is essential to strike the balance between facilitating virtual participation and allowing scrutiny and legislation to continue.


Written Question
Department of Health and Social Care: Written Questions
18 Jan 2021

Questioner: Sarah Owen (LAB - Luton North)

Question

To ask the Leader of the House, if he will publish the average time taken for the Department of Health and Social Care to answer written questions from hon. Members in (a) September 2020, (b) October 2020, (c) November 2020 and (d) December 2020.

Answered by Jacob Rees-Mogg

This information is not held by the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons. The Procedure Committee routinely publishes information regarding the performance of departments in answering written questions following the end of each parliamentary session, the last of which was published on 9 October 2020 for the 2017-19 and 2019 sessions. This is available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5801/cmselect/cmproced/790/79002.htm

I have written to all members of the Cabinet to remind them of the importance of timely and helpful responses to written questions. I encourage members who get an unsatisfactory or late response to write to me and I will take this up on their behalf.


Written Question
Westminster Hall: Debates
14 Jan 2021

Questioner: Rachael Maskell (LAB - York Central)

Question

To ask the Leader of the House, what discussions he has had with the House authorities on enabling full virtual participation in Westminster Hall debates.

Answered by Jacob Rees-Mogg

On 13 January, the House agreed a motion to suspend sittings in Westminster Hall. I refer the Hon. lady to my words during the debate on the question of virtual participation in Westminster Hall.


Written Question
Proxy Voting: Coronavirus
12 Jan 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Leader of the House, whether he has requested data from party whips on the number of backbench votes being cast by individual party whips during proxy voting in the House of Commons; whether he has made an assessment of the effect on (a) scrutiny of the Government by backbench hon. Members and (b) the power of whips over voting decisions of backbench hon. Members of (i) continuing with the proxy voting system and (ii) allowing hon. Members to vote remotely in divisions during the January 20221 covid-19 lockdown restrictions; if he will make it his policy to reinstate electronic voting in divisions for the duration of the national lockdown period; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Jacob Rees-Mogg

It is the Government’s view that the current arrangements for proxy voting are working well and are a better alternative to remote voting. Details of all proxy votes are readily available through the House service to all members and the public. Proxy voting has significantly reduced the overall number of people who are required to vote in person in the division lobbies and it is also flexible as members can choose their own proxy, irrespective of party. This strikes the right balance between ensuring a robust form of physical voting, which is not dependent on technology and individual members’ wifi connections, while ensuring that very few members have to vote in person, thus ensuring safety.

It is vital that members' votes are cast in accordance with their individual will and, as set out in the proxy voting scheme agreed by the House, members who are eligible to vote by proxy must agree with the member nominated as their proxy when the proxy vote will be cast and how it will be exercised. The member designated as a proxy is expected to act in strict accordance with the instruction given by the absent member, ensuring the voting decisions of backbench members are upheld.

The Government has taken a number of actions to ensure that MPs can work from home more readily where possible. Measures are in place in both Houses, including virtual participation in all Chamber proceedings and as we have said throughout the pandemic, the Government continues to keep the approach in Parliament under review.


Written Question
Members: Coronavirus
17 Dec 2020

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Leader of the House, what steps he plans to take to allow hon. Members to adhere to the Tier 3: Very High Alert Guidance to (a) work from home if possible, (b) avoid travelling outside a Tier 3 area and (c) reduce the number of journeys made wherever possible; what assessment he has made of the effect on the transmission of covid-19 of allowing hon. Members to contribute to debates virtually whilst London is under Tier 3 Guidance; if he will take steps to allow hon. Members to contribute remotely to debates in the House of Commons; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Jacob Rees-Mogg

The Government guidance is clear that you can continue to travel into or out of Local COVID Alert Level: Very High areas, if you need to for work, school, or caring responsibilities, or where doing so is necessary as part of a longer journey. It is the Government’s view that we best serve our constituents when we are in Westminster, carrying out our essential functions. The House authorities have put in place robust and effective measures to ensure that the House of Commons is a covid-secure workplace.

The Government is sympathetic to those Members who are currently unable to participate in some aspects of our proceeding and has worked hard to mitigate that, including a wide scale roll out of proxy voting and providing for remote participation in scrutiny proceedings. The Government also brought forward a motion to enable those Members who are clinically extremely vulnerable to contribute virtually in Chamber debates and it was unfortunate that this was talked out so the House did not make a decision. I will continue to engage with Members on how we best strike the balance between facilitating virtual participation and allowing scrutiny and legislation to continue. As I have always said, the Government continues to keep this matter under review.


Written Question
Leader of the House: Electric Vehicles
11 Dec 2020

Questioner: Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi (LAB - Slough)

Question

To ask the Leader of the House, what proportion of the vehicles used by his Department on Government business are electric vehicles.

Answered by Jacob Rees-Mogg

The Office of the Leader of the House of Commons is part of the Cabinet Office. I refer the hon. member to the response from the Cabinet Office (124846).


Written Question
Department of Health and Social Care: Written Questions
10 Dec 2020

Questioner: Kate Osamor (LAB - Edmonton)

Question

To ask the Leader of the House, whether he has had discussions with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the delay in answering Questions (a) 102132 to 102136 tabled on 9 October 2020 and (b) 105481 to 105489 tabled on 19 October 2020.

Answered by Jacob Rees-Mogg

I have regular discussions with members of the Cabinet and have reminded all departments of the importance of full and timely responses to Parliamentary questions. I have raised the hon. member’s specific questions with the Department for Health and Social Care and have been assured answers will be provided as soon as possible.

The Department of Health and Social Care responded to an urgent question on Thursday 19 November 2020 in relation to its performance in answering written questions from right hon. and hon. Members.


Written Question
House of Commons: Credit Unions
7 Dec 2020

Questioner: Gareth Thomas (LAB - Harrow West)

Question

To ask the Leader of the House, whether he plans to require his Department to provide a payroll deduction service to allow staff to save more easily with a credit union; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Jacob Rees-Mogg

The Office of the Leader of the House of Commons is part of the Cabinet Office. I refer the hon. member to the response to his question to the Cabinet Office (121122).


Written Question
Members: Coronavirus
24 Nov 2020

Questioner: Alison Thewliss (SNP - Glasgow Central)

Question

To ask the Leader of the House, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of (a) restrictions on travel and (b) reductions in availability of public transport during the covid-19 outbreak on the ability of hon. Members to participate in debates; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Jacob Rees-Mogg

The Government guidance is clear that you should continue to travel for work where it is not possible to do so from home. It is the Government’s strong view that Parliament best serves the UK public when MPs are present in Westminster, carrying out their essential functions. We have ensured that Members who cannot be here for a range of reasons can vote by proxy and participate in interrogative proceedings. Members’ travel arrangements and public transport do not fall under the Leader of the House’s portfolio of responsibilities but all Members must wear face coverings where mandated on public transport and I would encourage all to follow the Government’s guidance on this and other measures such as social distancing.


Written Question
Virtual Proceedings
23 Nov 2020

Questioner: Patrick Grady (SNP - Glasgow North)

Question

To ask the Leader of the House, whether he plans to bring forward provisions to enable hon. Members who are required by law to self-isolate under NHS test and trace procedures to participate in substantive proceedings of the House by virtual means.

Answered by Jacob Rees-Mogg

We have ensured that people who cannot be here for a range of reasons can vote by proxy and participate in interrogative proceedings. The Government has brought forward a motion to allow additional virtual participation for debates in the Chamber for any member who has been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable. The change is in line with the Government advice to the whole country that the clinically extremely vulnerable should currently not go into work.

I will continue to engage with Members on how we best strike the balance between facilitating virtual participation and allowing scrutiny and legislation to continue. As I have always said, we continue to keep this matter under review.