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COVID-19 proceedings: other proceedings

Under the temporary arrangements agreed on 30 December 2020 MPs can participate remotely in the presentation of public petitions, apply for emergency debates and make points of order in the Chamber.

In addition to participating remotely in oral questions and ministerial statements, debates and legislation, MPs can participate remotely in:

  • presentation of public petitions;
  • emergency debates;
  • points of order (with notice).

Presentation of public petitions

Public petitions (also known as paper petitions) are petitions presented in the Chamber by MPs. They can either be presented formally or informally. These petitions will be listed in the Votes and Proceedings and in Hansard on the day they are presented.

Formal Presentation in the Chamber enables the MP presenting the petition to say one or two sentences about the petition before reading out the request that the petition makes to the House.

Once the MP has spoken, the title of the petition is read out by the Table Clerk.

The presentation of petitions in this way takes place towards the end of the day just before the adjournment debate. MPs may present a petition either remotely or physically.

Informal presentation of a petition would usually mean that an MP places a petition in the petition bag located behind the Speaker's Chair. Under the temporary arrangements, MPs do not need to do this. Instead, they should email their petition to the Journal Office who will keep a record of it.

Emergency debates

Under the temporary arrangements, MPs can apply for an emergency debate in the same way that they would normally do so by writing to the Speaker.

Find out more information about this process.

Applications can be made by MPs wishing to participate either remotely or physically and require the support of at least 40 other MPs. If an emergency debate is granted, MPs can apply to participate in the debate by emailing the Speaker's Office. In such cases, the Speaker will inform MPs of the relevant deadlines.

Points of order (with notice)

If an MP participating remotely wishes to raise a point of order, they should email the Speaker's Office to give notice before the sitting for that day commences.

If the Speaker is satisfied that the point of order is urgent, genuine and significant and cannot be dealt with in an alternative manner, arrangements will be made for the MP to be called virtually at an appropraite time in proceedings.

Points of order without notice cannot be taken from MPs participating remotely.

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Parliamentary Glossary

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