Committee revive review into proxy voting pilot
5 March 2020
The Procedure Committee held the first meeting of this Parliament today (4 March 2020) and immediately announced its intention to revive a review into the House of Commons proxy voting pilot.
The Committee's previous review into the House of Commons proxy voting pilot was cut short by the 2019 General Election and the dissolution of Parliament.
The revived review will assess the practical operation of the scheme, considering the duration and scope for eligibility of proxy votes under the pilot and the administrative arrangements, including Speaker certification and the practicalities of casting proxy votes. The review will also look at the particular issues raised for proxy voting by a dissolution of Parliament and the swearing in of MPs at the beginning of a new Parliament.
The current pilot allows MPs who are new or adoptive parents to nominate another MP to vote in their stead during a period of absence (up to six months for new mothers and two weeks for new fathers). It has already proven highly popular, having been used by 11 new mothers and 13 new fathers in the period since its inception: 22 MPs have agreed to serve as proxies.
The Chair of the Committee, Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP, said:
“Voting procedures are an essential component of the effective functioning of our democracy. In January last year, on the basis of the predecessor Committee' s recommendations, the House launched a proxy voting pilot, and determined that this was to be reviewed within 12 months.
“Following the General Election, the House decided to extend the pilot to give the Procedure Committee time to conclude its review. We will now continue our investigation into proxy voting procedures and encourage colleagues to tell us what works for them in the present system and what does not.
“We will report back to the House later this year and determine what the best way forward is.”
The Committee website is now open for submissions of written evidence, which are invited up until 12 noon on Thursday 19 March.
Announcements about oral evidence sessions will be made in due course.
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