This week in the Commons: 4 May 2020
7 May 2020
This week in the House of Commons, MPs asked about PPE shortages, the relaxation of lockdown and more in PMQs. There were also statements made about the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, authorised the use of remote working, following the Procedure Committee's approval.
The letter, addressed to the Speaker, indicates that the Procedure Committee is “satisfied that the proposed system is suitable for use by the House in recording the votes of Members in remote divisions or remote deferred divisions".
The Speaker said:
"I received a letter from the Chair of the Procedure Committee giving the Committee's views on a new system for remote divisions in the House, on a temporary basis.
The Chair of the Committee notes that Committee was satisfied with the assurances it has been given about the security of the system, following extensive testing by the Parliamentary Digital Service.
I have also received confirmation that Parliament's Information Authority is content with the proposed system.
With this in mind, I believe we are now in a position to take this historic – yet temporary - next step to put remote voting into action.
I am therefore authorising the use of this system of remote voting under paragraph (1) of the relevant temporary Order.
Further guidance will be made available, and I will make a further statement, before the first such division. I remind colleagues that, as with other aspects of our current temporary arrangements, there may be some technical hitches as the new system beds in.”
Prime Minister's Questions
During Prime Minister's Questions MPs questioned the Prime Minister about the UK's coronavirus death toll, falling testing figures, PPE shortages, the relaxation of lockdown restrictions and more.
Urgent questions and statements
This week there were two statements and two urgent questions.
- Update from the Department for Work and Pensions - Dr Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
- International Covid-19 response - Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Secretary of State for International Development
- Government response to Covid-19 - asked by Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Health Secretary
- Guidelines for workplace safety after lockdown - asked by Andy McDonald, Shadow Secretary of State for Employment Rights.
The House of Commons approved the following Statutory Instruments (Sis):
- The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 -
- the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020
- The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (Fire and Rescue Functions) (Amendment) Order 2020 -
- The Employment Allowance (Increase of Maximum Amount) Regulations 2020
- The Automatic Enrolment (Offshore Employment) (Amendment) Order 2020
- The Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Automatic Enrolment) (Amendment) Regulations 2020
- The Census (England and Wales) Order 2020
Statutory instruments are the most common form of secondary (or delegated) legislation.
The power to make a statutory instrument is set out in an Act of Parliament and nearly always conferred on a Minister of the Crown.
Image: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor