Coronavirus (COVID-19)—Lords briefing examines remote participation

Coronavirus (COVID-19)—Lords briefing examines remote participation

The House of Lords has published a briefing on remote participation in debates and hybrid proceedings during coronavirus (COVID-19). The briefing explains the impact of these changes and the debate on whether they should be retained, covering how hybrid proceedings were introduced, how the changes have impacted attendance, how the changes have affected the number of members speaking, how the changes affected the diversity of members speaking and reactions to the changes. The House of Lords has also updated its timeline establishing the changes made to the House’s procedures during coronavirus.

Key points from the briefing include:

• hybrid proceedings were introduced in 2020 and on 4 June 2020, a hybrid house was established enabling physical and remote participation for business in the chamber. The first remote vote was introduced on 15 June 2020

• during hybrid proceedings, a small proportion of the total membership has attended the House of Lords either physically or virtually each month, compared to physical attendance before coronavirus

• since the introduction of hybrid proceedings, the monthly average number of members speaking has increased  

• the changes have had a minimal impact on the diversity of members speaking

• some members have argued that although virtual participation has been necessary during coronavirus, it negatively impacts the ability of the House of Lords to conduct its work

• some members have highlighted the benefits of the changes, such as enabling members to participate who may otherwise have found it difficult to attend in person

Sources:

• House of Lords: remote participation and hybrid proceedings

• House of Lords: timeline of response to Covid-19 pandemic

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