Members: Coronavirus

(asked on 10th November 2020) - View Source

Question to the Leader of the House:

To ask the Leader of the House, whether he has made an assessment of the effect on the transmission of covid-19 of providing additional ways for hon. Members to work from home during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown restrictions; if he will take steps to allow hon. Member to (a) contribute remotely to debates in Westminster Hall and (b) vote remotely in divisions during that period; whether he has asked Public Health England for advice on the effect on the transmission of covid-19 of hon. Members travelling to and from their constituencies to Westminster during that period; and if he will make a statement.


Answered by
Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait
Jacob Rees-Mogg
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
This question was answered on 16th November 2020

It is the Government’s view that we best serve our constituents when we are here in Westminster, carrying out our essential functions. At a time when the nation is dealing with the widespread impacts of coronavirus, this work could not be more important. The House authorities have worked hard to put in place robust and effective measures to ensure that the House of Commons is a covid-secure workplace and all Members should follow the government’s guidance when travelling to Parliament.

In October, the House took the decision to extend the current arrangements for virtual participation to March 2021 and ensured that people who cannot be here for a range of reasons can vote by proxy and participate in interrogative proceedings. This was agreed without debate and without division. The hon. Member asks specifically about Westminster Hall and remote voting. Technical limitations meant it was only possible to resume business in Westminster Hall last month. However, the Government's understanding is that, owing to House capacity constraints, it is not currently possible to extend Westminster Hall debates to Members participating virtually. On remote voting, in the context of a physical return of Parliament, not returning to physical voting would be a significant anomaly and I welcome the House’s agreement to the new voting system, which is an effective way of managing safe physical voting.

The Government is sympathetic to those Members who are currently unable to participate in some aspects of our proceedings. However, the Government has done everything it can to mitigate that, including a wide scale roll out of proxy voting and providing for remote participation in scrutiny proceedings, including select committees. In addition, I am working with the House authorities to see how we can support additional virtual participation in the Commons for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

This content was generated for your convenience by Parallel Parliament and does not form part of the official record.
Recent Documents related to Members: Coronavirus

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Recent Speeches related to Members: Coronavirus

1. Proceedings during the Pandemic
02/06/2020 - Commons Chamber

1: Procedure Committee, Procedure under coronavirus restrictions: proposals for remote participation, HC 300; - Speech Link
2: amendment (b), I will then call Karen Bradley to move either amendment (c) if amendment (b) was agreed - Speech Link

2. Participation in Debates
16/11/2020 - Commons Chamber

1: than some might have feared. During the initial lockdown, the hybrid proceedings allowed scrutiny to continue - Speech Link

3. Proxy Voting
23/09/2020 - Commons Chamber

1: pilot arrangements, HC 10; and Memorandum from the Leader of the House in response to the Committee’s report - Speech Link
2: amended on 16 January and 20 July 2020, (b) the Resolution of 4 June 2020 (Proxy Voting (Extension)) - Speech Link
3: amended on 16 January and 20 July 2020, (b) the Resolution of 4 June 2020 (Proxy Voting (Extension)) - Speech Link

4. Business of the House
05/11/2020 - Commons Chamber

1: the week commencing 9 November will include:Monday 9 November—Second Reading of the Financial Services - Speech Link

5. House Business during the Pandemic
08/06/2020 - Commons Chamber

1: Procedure Committee, Procedure under coronavirus restrictions: proposals for remote participation, HC 300; - Speech Link
2: physical attendance to this House. We have seen Members queuing round the block, up the stairs, down the - Speech Link
3: disagree with the right hon. Gentleman that the sight of us all walking through here to vote was slightly ridiculous - Speech Link

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