Prospect demands a return to remote participation in Parliament

21 December 2021

Prospect, which represents workers in parliament, has called on the Government t to allow MPs to participate remotely in any Commons recall debate between Christmas and new year as COVID continues to surge throughout the UK.

House of Parliament

MPs were able to participate in debates in the House of Commons remotely during the first wave of the pandemic as authorities took innovative steps to reduce attendance in Westminster. But remote participation in debates was brought to an end last summer due to the opposition of the Government and the Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg.

With Omicron now causing huge increases in infection, there is concern that a recall – resulting in hundreds of MPs travelling from all over the country – will become a super-spreader event.

Prospect has called for additional measures for the recall debate:

• Mandatory mask-wearing in the Chamber
• Expanded use of proxy voting
• Mandatory negative Lateral Flow Test before coming onsite
• Social distancing in the Chamber

Prospect General Secretary Mike Clancy said:

“Allowing our democracy to continue to function is vital which is why we are calling for measures to be put in place now, so that absence due to COVID infection does not put that operation at risk.

“We have already demonstrated that a hybrid parliament can work, and with the additional measures we are proposing we can safeguard the health of MPs and staff without jeopardising democracy.

“Bringing MPs and staff to Westminster from all over the country risks parliament becoming a super-spreader event. The government and House authorities need to lead by example and take what are not unreasonable preventative measures.”

Public Services

From protecting our rivers to inspecting our workplaces, Prospect members work in the public interest across a range of organisations.