Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:46 pm on 12th October 2020.

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Photo of Patrick Grady Patrick Grady SNP Chief Whip 5:46 pm, 12th October 2020

We welcome the opportunities that will exist for scrutiny, and I refer the Leader of the House to the amendment that we tabled to the coronavirus extension motion, which detailed some of the kinds of scrutiny that already take place in Holyrood. Perhaps there are lessons that can be learned about the more open and transparent way that the Scottish Government have been conducting themselves since the start of this process.

Under the proceedings under the pandemic orders, the EVEL—English votes for English laws—Standing Orders have been suspended. Who knows how long that suspension might last for? I would still expect that we will exercise our self-denying ordinance where these regulations relate directly to England and Wales and fall within devolved competence, although, of course, we would be interested in any Barnett consequentials that come from expenditure.

I want to back up the shadow Leader of the House on the point about virtual participation and remote voting. These regulations are going to make it more difficult for Members to travel, irrespective of historical rights. Members might be in households where they have to self-isolate, or they might not want to set that example to their constituents, so I plead with the Leader of the House to consider, at the very least, virtual voting and if at all possible, virtual participation in substantive proceedings.