Hybrid Proceedings (Extension of Temporary Orders)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:21 pm on 12th May 2020.

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Photo of Graham Brady Graham Brady Chair, Conservative Party 1922 Committee 6:21 pm, 12th May 2020

Along with others, I pay tribute to your efforts, Mr Speaker, and to those of the House staff and the Procedure Committee, in bringing in these temporary virtual arrangements and putting into place the practical measures here in the House of Commons to improve safety for those who are present in person.

The virtual proceedings have served a purpose during the most acute stage of the crisis, but as the nation gradually returns towards normal life, as the Leader of the House rightly said, it is important that this place moves back towards normality at least at the same pace. The amendment of my hon. Friend Mr Wragg, which was not selected for technical reasons, sought to bring in hybrid voting mechanisms, and I thought that it was also an important recognition that we ought to be able to return gradually. Not only is this about the leadership that this House owes to the country; it is also, as has been said by both the Leader of the House and the shadow Leader of the House, about the quality of scrutiny and the effectiveness of Parliament. So much of what we do here depends on personal contact—however socially distant—and on the ability of Ministers to sense the strength of feeling.

I strongly endorse the comments of the Leader of the House. I very much welcome his commitment to bringing this temporary measure to an end on 20 May. He may not know this, but I can tell him that that is my birthday. I am profoundly grateful for this early gift that he has promised me, and look forward to supporting it.