Proxy Voting: Coronavirus

(asked on 6th January 2021) - View Source

Question to the Leader of the House:

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 Portrait
Jacob Rees-Mogg
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
This question was answered on 12th January 2021

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.

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

1. Electronic voting in the House of Commons during covid-19 national lockdown
06/01/2021 - Early Day Motions

Found: this House notes the success of the electronic voting system used by hon. Members in the House of Commons

2. Proxy voting in divisions in the House
12/02/2019 - Parliamentary Research

Found: www.parliament.uk/commons-library | intranet.parliament.uk/commons-library | papers@parliament.uk |

3. Baby leave for Members of Parliament
30/01/2018 - Parliamentary Research

Found: www.parliament.uk/commons-library | intranet.parliament.uk/commons-library | papers@parliament.uk |

4. Electronic recording of divisions
12/02/2016 - Parliamentary Research

Found: www.parliament.uk/commons-library | intranet.parliament.uk/commons-library | papers@parliament.uk |

5. Restoration of online democracy and equal rights for MPs
14/07/2020 - Early Day Motions

Found: That this House believes that the decision to discontinue the ability of elected MPs to participate remotely

Latest Documents
Recent Speeches related to Proxy Voting: Coronavirus

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

1: Committee, Proxy voting: review of pilot arrangements, HC 10; and Memorandum from the Leader of the House in - Speech Link
2: motion No. 6 on voting by proxy, and with it we will also debate motion No. 7 on proxy voting during the pandemic - Speech Link
3: January 2019 (Proxy Voting (Implementation)), as amended on 16 January and 20 July 2020, (b) the Resolution - Speech Link
4: January 2019 (Proxy Voting (Implementation)), as amended on 16 January and 20 July 2020, (b) the Resolution - Speech Link

2. 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: end of the debate. Once the House has come to a decision on amendment (b), I will then call Karen Bradley - Speech Link

3. 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: beg to move,That this House has considered the Conduct of House business during the pandemic.First - Speech Link

4. Sittings in Westminster Hall (Suspension) (No. 2)
13/01/2021 - Commons Chamber

1: I inform the House that I have selected amendment (a) to motion 4 in the name of the hon. Member for Christchurch - Speech Link
2: (Sittings in Westminster Hall) and the order of this House on 23 September 2020, there shall be no sittings - Speech Link
3: (Sittings in Westminster Hall) and the order of this House on 23 September 2020, there shall be no sittings - Speech Link

5. Remote Voting
22/04/2020 - Commons Chamber

1: I call the Leader of the House to move motion 6, I should inform the House that I have selected the amendment - Speech Link
2: made and have effect until 12 May:Remote divisions(1) A remote division may be held only in - Speech Link

Latest Speeches
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