The UK parliament’s virtual proceedings – some of the most wide-ranging changes it has made to its ways of working in its history – created better opportunities to scrutinise the government’s response to coronavirus than have been available to most other legislatures in the world.
This report warns that abandoning virtual proceedings from 2 June will reduce parliament’s ability to scrutinise the government. And it will mean abandoning the principle of equality of participation for all MPs, which has underpinned ‘hybrid’ sittings in the Commons.
Social distancing will continue to be enforced when parliament returns. This will limit the numbers of MPs and peers able to participate in parliamentary activities, and could potentially exclude MPs who are shielding, whose families are shielding, who have caring responsibilities, or who would currently find it difficult to travel long distances to Westminster.