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Speaker outlines new division system

16 June 2020

Image of UK Parliament portcullis

Under the Speaker's authority, a new division system involving the use of pass-readers has been introduced and will be used from today.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle outlined how this new system will work in a letter to MPs.

Overview of the revised division process:

  • Pass-readers have been installed in the two voting lobbies (the “aye” and the “no” lobby);
  • When a division is called, the Speaker will appoint Tellers as usual and they will take their position at the end of each division lobby behind the Speaker's Chair. Doors to the entrance and exit of the voting lobbies will be locked until the Tellers are in place;
  • MPs will go to Westminster Hall to join the back of the division queues, and MPs will be at a 2m distance from each other. Members will be able to join one of two queues, which will merge in Members' Lobby;
  • As MPs pass through the aye or no division lobby, they should tap their card on either one of two pass-readers that have been installed there. An MP will only be counted as having voted once even if they tap more than once;
  • The doors of Members' Lobby will be locked after a minimum interval of 25 minutes, but the Speaker has the power to extend this period if the circumstances demand this.

How will results be announced?

  • A Teller from the winning side will come to one of the Despatch Boxes to announce the result.
  • Division records will be published on the Commons Votes app and website, but there will be a delay of at least one hour in the publication of the results.

Photo: Parliamentary staff trial pass reader voting.

Credit: Jessica Taylor/ UK Parliament