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Academics questioned on procedural arrangements under coronavirus restrictions

7 July 2020

The House of Commons Procedure Committee hears from leading academics from the Hansard Society, the UCL Constitution Unit and Institute for Government.

Witnesses

Wednesday 8 July 2020, virtual session

At 2.45pm

  • Dr Ruth Fox, Director and Head of Research of the Hansard Society
  • Professor Meg Russell, Director of the Constitution Unit, UCL
  • Dr Hannah White, Deputy Director of the Institute for Government

The session follows an evidence session last week, where the Committee questioned Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees Mogg MP on virtual participation in the House of Commons. You can read the full transcript of the session here.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Committee also heard from Clerk of the House, John Benger and Strategic Director, Chamber Business Team, Matthew Hamlyn on the present procedural arrangements under coronavirus restrictions, including the new pass reader system for voting. You can watch the session here.

The session forms part of the Committee’s ongoing inquiry into House of Commons procedure and practice under coronavirus restrictions.

As part of the inquiry, the Committee is monitoring and evaluating the use made of the procedures and practices for the “hybrid Parliament” which were in effect between 21 April and 20 May, and of the further changes allowing limited virtual participation and an extension of proxy voting agreed to on 4 and 10 June. These temporary changes were introduced due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Chair's comments

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

“The Committee is looking forward to hearing evidence from Professor Russell, Dr Fox and Dr White on Wednesday.

“New procedures and practices have been developed at speed for implementation by the House, for the 'hybrid Parliament' in April and May and for the socially distanced Chamber after the Whitsun recess.

"This evidence session will be a valuable opportunity to take the view of three experienced and thoughtful observers of the House on how the changes have worked to date.

"My Committee will continue to monitor House procedure and practice under coronavirus conditions as those conditions develop, taking further evidence as appropriate and reporting to the House where necessary."

The period for evidence submissions to the Committee’s inquiry has been extended to Thursday 16 July. More information can be found on the Procedure Committee website here.

Further information

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