Monday 1 June 2020 / 4:35 PM Coronavirus / Valerie Vaz

Amendment to retain remote voting and virtual participation by MPs

Labour and opposition parties have today tabled an amendment, seeking to retain the arrangements which allow MPs to participate in Parliament on an equal basis regardless of their personal circumstances during the Covid-19 emergency.

Labour reaffirms our support for remote voting and hybrid virtual arrangements and will support any reasonable proposal tomorrow, such as those made by the Conservative chaired Procedure Committee, to achieve this end.

Valerie Vaz MP, Shadow Leader of the House, said:

“Jacob Rees-Mogg’s discriminatory proposals would result in two classes of MPs. Those who can physically attend and those unable to owing to the Government’s own rules, including having an underlying health condition or shielding responsibilities.

“The abolition of the hybrid remote parliament which allowed all MPs to take part regardless of their personal circumstances is discriminatory and would not be acceptable in any other workplace.

“We remain ready to work with the Government and all parties to reach a consensus that would allow all MPs to participate on an equal basis.”

Ends

 

Notes to editors 

Full text of the motion:

Valerie Vaz

Tommy Sheppard

Alistair Carmichael

Liz Saville-Roberts

Colum Eastwood

Caroline Lucas

Dr Stephen Farry

Patrick Grady

Mr Nicholas Brown

 

As an amendment to the motion 

Leave out from “That” in line 1 to end of line XX [end of para 3] and insert

“(1) until the Speaker states that the ordinary conduct of divisions and deferred divisions is consistent with relevant public health guidance and advice and with the legal duties of the House of Commons Commission and the Corporate Officer or the House otherwise orders–

  1.       Standing Orders Nos. 38, 40 and 41A (save as provided for in the temporary order of 22 April (Conduct of remote divisions)) shall not have effect;
  2.       if the opinion of the Speaker or the chair as to the decision of a question is challenged, they shall direct that a remote division or, as the case may be, a remote deferred division, take place;
  3.       the temporary order of 22 April (Conduct of remote divisions) shall have effect;

 

(2)     this House requires a Minister of the Crown, no later than Monday 8 June, to move a motion proposing arrangements for virtual participation by hon. Members unable to attend at Westminster for medical or public health reasons related to the pandemic.”

Explanatory Memorandum

This amendment would retain remote voting and require the Government to bring forward proposals for members who are unable to attend due to their personal circumstances to participate virtually for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic.