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Temporary Chamber

Oral Answers to Questions — House of Commons Commission – in the House of Commons on 20th June 2019.

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Photo of Patrick Grady Patrick Grady SNP Chief Whip

What recent discussions the Commission has had on the design of the proposed temporary Chamber for the House of Commons.

Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union)

The Commission has heard various oral representations. At its meeting on 14 May 2018, it considered a statement of accommodation requirements for the House of Commons decant. Most recently, on 20 May, the Commission considered the northern estate programme, which includes the temporary Chamber for the House of Commons, and endorsed the scheme’s proposals. Those proposals are currently out to a public consultation that closes on 28 June, and all comments and observations will be welcomed.

Photo of Patrick Grady Patrick Grady SNP Chief Whip

The right hon. Gentleman will not be surprised if I ask whether there is the intention to ensure that any temporary Chamber is equipped with facilities for electronic voting so that we can at least experiment with a bit of modernisation. However, when MPs and the public make submissions to the consultation, will they have the opportunity to suggest even more radical proposals, such as desks that we might lean on or facilities for plugging in electronic devices, as are seen in other Parliaments around the world?

Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union)

It was no surprise that the hon. Gentleman made his point about electronic voting, which is something that I would like to see tested in the temporary Chamber—that is a personal opinion. I will monitor the responses to the consultation that are received by 28 June, and I will be astonished and extremely disappointed if the hon. Gentleman does not submit a response setting out exactly how he would like the temporary Chamber to operate.