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Proxy voting: review of pilot arrangements


As its first inquiry of this Parliament the Procedure Committee will revive the review into the House of Commons proxy voting pilot cut short by the early dissolution of Parliament in November 2019.

The predecessor Committee’s review of the proxy voting pilot was curtailed by the dissolution of Parliament for the 2019 General Election.

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).

UPDATE: On 8 May the Committee published a report on the proposed system for remote voting in the House. The report contained the following statement:

"The Committee is currently evaluating the pilot of arrangements for proxy voting for parental absence, introduced in January 2019 for an initial period of 12 months. In January 2020 the Leader of the House proposed an extension of six months, to the end ofJuly 2020, in order to allow the Procedure Committee in this Parliament—at that point not yet established—to complete the evaluation started by its predecessor in September 2019. At this Committee’s first meeting, on 4 March, it was agreed to carry on the evaluation:the Committee has received additional written evidence to its inquiry and has held one further session of oral evidence to date. Since that evidence session, held on 11 March, the substantial procedural issues raised by the pandemic have required the Committee’s full attention, and the work on the evaluation has had to be suspended temporarily. The Committee will resume its evaluationas soon as circumstances allow."The Committee will continue to accept submissions on the pilot scheme of proxy voting for parental absence while its inquiry is suspended: a revised closing date for submissions will be announced once the Committee has resumed its inquiry.

The terms of reference for the inquiry are:

  • The scope and operation of the scheme established under the resolution of the House of 28 January 2019, including the duration and scope of eligibility for proxy votes.
  • The operation of proxy votes over dissolution and the beginning of the new Parliament.
  • The operation of the temporary standing order providing for the use of proxy votes in divisions of the House.
  • The administrative arrangements for the scheme, including the requirement to provide evidence of eligibility and the requirement of a sitting days’ notice for a proxy vote.
  • How the scheme has worked in practice, including the system of Speaker certification and the practicalities of casting proxy votes in the lobbies.

This inquiry is currently accepting evidence

The committee wants to hear your views. We welcome submissions from anyone with answers to the questions in the call for evidence. You can submit evidence until Friday 31 July 2020.

Read the call for evidence before submitting

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  • Address: Procedure Committee, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA