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Lords debates hybrid proceedings

21 May 2021

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Members debated remote participation and the hybrid sittings of the House of Lords, set up in response to COVID-19, on Thursday 20 May.


Leader of the House of Lords

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Conservative), Leader of the House of Lords, put forward the debate. Earl Howe (Conservative), Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, opened the debate.

How should the Lords work after COVID-19?

Members put forward a range of viewpoints on how the House should carry out its work in the future.
Some members argued the Lords should resume it's pre-COVID set up as soon as restrictions allow, to enable the House to properly hold the government to account in person.
Other members, including those who live the furthest from London and people with disabilities or caring responsibilities, highlighted the benefits and possibilities of remote, digital participation. 
Many members also expressed thanks to the staff of the House for developing and facilitating the House's hybrid proceedings.
Baroness Evans responded on behalf of the government, saying hybrid proceedings were a necessary consequence of the pandemic but the House's leadership now needs to work on how to move forward.


Over 90 members took part, including:

  • Lord Judge (Crossbench), Convenor of the Crossbench Peers
  • Lord Lucas (Conservative), former member of the Democracy and Digital Technologies Committee
  • Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall (Labour), member of the Procedure and Privileges Committee
  • Lord Newby (Liberal Democrats), Leader of the Liberal Democrats

COVID-19: House of Lords response

The House responded rapidly to the pandemic and changed the way it works. It set up ‘hybrid proceedings’ in the chamber, online committee meetings and the online voting system.

Impact on Parliament

The Constiution Committee published its COVID-19 and Parliament report as part of its inquiry into the Constitutional implications of COVID‑19.


Read the House of Lords Library timeline of the House of Lords response to COVID-19.

House of Lords Commission 

The House of Lords Commission, chaired by the Lord Speaker, announced on Wednesday 19 May that capacity in the chamber would increase to 53 members (from 30), following consultation with Public Health England.

The Procedure and Privileges Committee has issued updated guidance for the House’s business following the Commission's announcement.

Image: Copyright House of Lords 2021 / Photography by Roger Harris