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Landmark report on changes to House of Commons procedures published

21 April 2020

The Procedure Committee publishes a landmark report on adaptations to Commons procedure under coronavirus restrictions

The report represents the latest step in the Committee's ongoing work to ensure that the House of Commons can swiftly adapt as the Coronavirus pandemic continues to change the ways of life and ways of working of everyone in the UK.

The Committee's report considers the proposals developed by the House of Commons Service to enable a form of remote participation in House proceedings, as well as looking at what the next steps may be for the House in terms of facilitating additional temporary measures such as remote voting.

The full report, titled “Procedure under coronavirus restrictions: proposals for remote participation”, focuses on the detail of procedural modifications expected to be approved later today, allowing questions to Ministers, urgent questions and statements to take place as 'hybrid proceedings' where virtual and physical participation are both possible.

The report commends the arrangements and the approach taken by the House of Commons Service, and highlights the Committee's recommendation for a rapid extension of hybrid proceedings to other categories of business, such as debates on motions and proceedings on legislation.

Chair's comments

Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP, Chair of the Procedure Committee, said:

“The Coronavirus pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on all aspects of public and private life in the UK, and the House of Commons is not immune to this.

“The impact on the way our democracy functions has already been considerable, and the House has responded with innovation and adaptation in ways we've not seen in its 700 year history.

“The Procedure Committee report, published today, highlights the changes to procedure recommended so far to allow scrutiny of Government to continue. Our report also highlights the urgent need for additional changes to allow debates and scrutiny of legislation to endure.

“The Committee would like to thank the House of Commons service for the brilliant progress achieved so far - under immense pressure - to ensure that democracy, and scrutiny, can continue to function at in these extraordinary times.”

Further information

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