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COVID-19 proceedings: Westminster Hall

Westminster Hall debates resumed on Monday 8 March 2021 enabling MPs to particpate in proceedings either physically or virtually.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic sittings in Westminster Hall were suspended in March 2020. Westminster Hall debates resumed between 5 October 2020 and 14 January 2021, enabling MPs to particpate in debates if physically present.

On 25 February 2021, the House of Commons agreed a motion to resume sittings in Westminster Hall from Monday 8 March 2021. MPs can now particpate in Westminster Hall debates either physically or virtually for the first time during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The debates take place in the Boothroyd Room instead of the usual Grand Committee Room to better facilitate these temporary hybrid proceedings. The move marks the first time Westminster Hall debates are held outside of the Grand Committee Room since 2014, when Committee Room 10 briefly hosted the debates.

Timings of Westminster Hall debates

While the temporary arrangements are in place to facilitate hybrid proceedings, slight changes have been made to the regular time slots of debates in Westminster Hall. The time between each debate allows for MPs to safely enter and leave the Chamber and for any cleaning to take place.

There will be no three-hour debates while the temporary arrangements are in place.

Monday

  • 4.30pm - 6pm
  • 6.15pm - 7.45pm

Tuesday and Wednesday

  • 9.25am - 10.55am
  • 11am - 11.30am
  • 2.30pm - 4pm
  • 4.05pm - 4.35pm
  • 4.50pm - 5.50pm

Thursday

  • 1.30pm - 3pm
  • 3.15pm - 4.45pm

Westminster Hall debates held on a Monday afternoon are usually chosen by the Petitions Committee. Debates on Tuesdays and Wednesdays are adjournment debates and debates held on a Thursday afternoon are usually chosen by the Backbench Business Committee. 

Social distancing

Arrangements are in place to ensure that proceedings comply with public health guidance. Social distancing measures are in place in the Boothroyd Room and, in order to facilitate this, there will be a limit of twenty MPs allowed in the room at any one time.

Call lists

Call lists are lists of the MPs that will be invited to speak during a debate. They assist the Chair in managing attendance while social distancing measures are in place. There will be call lists in place during 60-minute and 90-minute debates in Westminster Hall.

Call lists will not be required for 30-minute debates. MPs wishing to speak in these debates will be required to contact the Minister, the MP in charge of the debate and the Speaker's Office in the usual way.

Find out more about Westminster Hall debates.

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