Hybrid debates extended to Westminster Hall during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Hybrid debates extended to Westminster Hall during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Parliament has announced that the House of Commons service has extended the ability to hold hybrid debates to Westminster Hall debates. These debates usually take place in the Grand Committee Room, however, due to coronavirus (COVID-19), they have been suspended. The debates will now be conducted in the Boothroyd Room in Portcullis House, which enables 20 MPs to participate physically or virtually. Further, Parliament has announced that the House of Commons Commission will discuss a roadmap to return MPs and staff to Parliament on 8 March 2021. The proposals resemble the Prime Minister’s roadmap out of lockdown for England, but will need to be ratified by the House of Commons Commission.

Commenting on the Westminster Hall development, Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, Dame Eleanor Laing MP, states, ‘Resuming Westminster Hall debates will further increase Parliament’s capacity to debate vital issues, and debating in this hybrid system will enable us to extend participation in Westminster Hall debates to all Members in a safe and efficient manner, ensuring Parliament remains COVID-secure’.

Sources:

• Westminster Hall debates: MPs to participate virtually and in person

• Commons roadmap out of lockdown

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