Valerie responds to Select Committee Statement

On Thursday 19 November 2020, I responded to a Select Committee statement from the Chair of the Procedure Committee regarding virtual participation in debates. You can read my full speech below:

“I place on record my thanks to the Chair of the Procedure Committee and all its members, who have been absolutely assiduous in their work. With so many reports, the workload has been incredible, and the Committee has informed a very important debate.

I also place on record my thanks to the Broadcasting Unit, which has been absolutely superb. As has been said, we are world leaders in a virtual Parliament, and people are looking at how we do our work. In paragraph 28 of this excellent report, Matthew Hamlyn, the strategic director for the Chamber Business Team, confirms that the resilience of the broadcasting hub has been substantially improved. At paragraph 33, the Clerk of the House confirms that the infrastructure necessary to support mixed physical and virtual contributions is ready to roll. At paragraph 58, the important point is made about hon. Members’ eligibility. We are all equal, and we all have to play our part in democracy.

There is a mention of Mr Speaker reporting by 14 December. There is such important legislation coming through at the beginning of December, not least because it is the most dramatic time for the United Kingdom, as we leave the EU. Important pieces of legislation need to be put through Parliament, and our colleagues will not be able to take part. Is there any way that the Chair of the Procedure Committee can look at that? We stand ready to work with her and with the Leader of the House to ensure that these measures are put in place so that all colleagues can take part in those debates.”