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House of Commons Hansard
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Business without Debate
04 June 2020
Volume 676

Virtual Participation in Proceedings During the Pandemic (Temporary Orders)

[Relevant Documents: First Report from the Procedure Committee, Procedure under coronavirus restrictions: proposals for remote participation, HC 300; Second Report from the Procedure Committee, Procedure under coronavirus restrictions: remote voting in divisions, HC 335; Third Report from the Procedure Committee, Procedure under coronavirus restrictions: the Government’s proposal to discontinue remote participation, HC 392; and Transcript of oral evidence on Procedure under coronavirus restrictions to the Procedure Committee from the Clerk of the House and the Clerk of the Journals on 1 June 2020, HC 300.]

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Before I call for the motion to be moved, I understand that Chris Bryant has withdrawn his amendment and has made that clear.

Ordered,

That the following order be made and have effect until 7 July 2020:

(1) Members may participate in proceedings on Questions, Urgent Questions and Statements virtually, by electronic means approved by the Speaker.

(2) Virtual participation in accordance with paragraph (1) may only be permitted by the Speaker in respect of Members who have self-certified that they are unable to attend at Westminster for medical or public health reasons related to the pandemic. The arrangements for self-certification shall be set out by the Speaker.—(Mr Rees-Mogg.)

Proxy Voting (Extension)

[Relevant Documents: First Special Report from the Procedure Committee, Procedure under coronavirus restrictions: the Government’s proposal for proxy voting for shielding Members, HC 429.]

Resolved,

That this House agrees that a Member who is unable to attend at Westminster because they themselves are at high risk from coronavirus for reasons that they are either ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ or ‘clinically vulnerable’, may arrange for their vote to be cast by proxy; and accordingly directs the Speaker to amend the pilot proxy voting scheme, in accordance with paragraph (5) of the Resolution of the House of 28 January 2019, as amended on 16 January 2020 (Proxy Voting (Implementation)).—(Mr Rees-Mogg.)

Proxy Voting (Temporary Standing Order)

Ordered,

That the temporary Standing Order (Voting by proxy for parental absence) be amended as follows:

In the title delete “for parental absence”.

Delete paragraph (1) and insert:

“(1) A Member may, by reason of absence from the precincts of the House:

(a) for childbirth or care of an infant or newly adopted child, or

(b) because they themselves are at high risk from coronavirus for reasons that they are either ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ or ‘clinically vulnerable’, arrange for their vote to be cast in accordance with this order by another Member acting as a proxy (a proxy vote).”

In paragraph (9) delete “and the Resolution of the House of Monday 28 January 2019” and insert “the Order of 4 June 2020 (Proxy Voting (Temporary Standing Order)), and the Resolutions of the House of 28 January 2019 and 4 June 2020”.—(Mr Rees-Mogg.)

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I have a short statement to make in relation to motions 3 to 5, which have been agreed to. Preparations are under way as a matter of urgency both to enable virtual participation in scrutiny proceedings and to extend proxy voting. Mr Speaker will write to all hon. Members tomorrow morning, and this will be sent to all hon. Members by email. Those hon. Members who expect to self-certify for virtual participation or to be eligible for proxy voting, or both, should aim to respond swiftly in order that virtual participation can be in place from very early next week, and the extension of proxy voting implemented as soon as possible.