House Business during the Pandemic

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:10 pm on 8th June 2020.

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Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 6:10 pm, 8th June 2020

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for that point. The Chief Whip is not in his normal seat, so I will whisper it very quietly in the hope that he does not hear, but I would still be concerned about the Whips exercising a very large number of votes. Even as a member of the Government, to go to the point of the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland about the Leader of the House having a broader responsibility, I do not think that would be ideal. I think it is preferable that the awarder of the proxy can decide the Member who will bear the proxy. I think that is a better system, but I think Members in the generality ought to come here physically to vote because that is bringing Parliament to one place.

I was just talking about the hon. Member for Edinburgh East, who said that

“the final link in the digital chain is a domestic broadband connection that often fails, leaving Members unable to participate fully or at all.”—[Official Report, 12 May 2020;
Vol. 676, c. 216.]

We certainly saw that with the hybrid proceedings. MPs are not able to conduct all aspects of their job from home, because it misses the responsibility we have as lawmakers.