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Speaker’s Statement

Volume 675: debated on Wednesday 6 May 2020

I would like to make a short statement. Last night I received a letter from the Chair of the Procedure Committee giving the Committee’s views on a new system for remote Divisions in the House on a temporary basis. The Chair of the Committee notes that the Committee was satisfied with the assurances it has been given about the security of the system, following extensive testing by the Parliamentary Digital Service. I have also received confirmation that Parliament’s Information Authority is content with the proposed system.

With that in mind, I believe we are now in a position to take this historic, yet temporary, next step to put remote voting into action. I am therefore authorising the use of this system of remote voting under paragraph (1) of the relevant temporary order. Further guidance will be made available, and I will make a further statement, before the first such Division. I remind colleagues that, as with other aspects of our current temporary arrangements, there may be some technical hitches as the new system beds in.

I would like to pay tribute to House staff, the Digital Service and the Committee for their work in making this possible and for working with Members and the Whips’ Offices to help ensure that Members had the opportunity to test the system and understand how it operates.

I remind colleagues that a secret ballot is taking place online today for the Chairs of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee and the Committee on Standards. The ballot will close at 2 pm. Members will have received an email to their main parliamentary email with a secure link to the ballot.