On Monday 8 June 2020, the House of Commons will hold an emergency debate on the conduct of House business during the pandemic.
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On Thursday 4 June 2020, the House gave leave for an Emergency Debate (under Standing Order No 24) on the conduct of House business during the pandemic.
The application was made by Alistair Carmichael who expressed concern about the implications Members having to be physically present to participate in proceedings, following the House’s decision to accept the Government’s proposals on 2 June.
Temporary procedures and practices for House of Commons sittings during the pandemic were introduced before and after the Easter recess. Arrangements for hybrid proceedings, which allowed Members to participate in proceedings virtually, and provisions for remote voting lapsed on 20 May 2020.
Arrangements to return to physical proceedings were confirmed on 2 June and did not allow any remote participation. However, on 4 June, Government motions to allow virtual participation in questions, urgent questions and statements; and remote voting for Members restricted by coronavirus were agreed.
Procedure Committee reports relating to procedure under coronavirus restrictions
The Procedure Committee has published four reports to keep the House informed of the proposals for hybrid proceedings; on the introduction of remote voting; and on the discontinuation of remote participation:
- Procedure under coronavirus restrictions: proposals for remote participation, 21 April 2020, HC 300 2019-21
- Procedure under coronavirus restrictions: remote voting in divisions, 8 May 2020, HC 335 2019-21
- Procedure under coronavirus restrictions: the Government’s proposal to discontinue remote participation, 30 May 2020, HC 392 2019-21
- Procedure under coronavirus restrictions: the Government’s proposal for proxy voting for shielding Members, 3 June 2020, HC 429 2019-21