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#ReesMoggConga - MPs try social-distanced queuing system on return to Parliament

#ReesMoggConga - MPs try social-distanced queuing system on return to Parliament

MPs voted in favour of a social distanced queuing system, ending the use of a digital voting system as they returned to the House of Commons on Tuesday.

The House of Commons had been operating on a 'virtual Commons' model before the Parliamentary recess, with MPs able to ask questions from their own homes via video link and vote remotely, with only 50 people allowed in the Commons chamber at once.

However, MPs voted by 261 votes to 163 votes on Tuesday to end the 'virtual Commons'. In order to vote, members had to form a socially-distanced queue across hundreds of metres of the Parliamentary estate. Due to the risk of Coronavirus transmission, the Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle had ruled that voting by members filing through the division lobbies was no longer safe.

Scenes of the MPs queuing spread on social media on Tuesday, with some MPs calling the system 'ridiculous'.

Some questioned why the digital voting system which had worked before the recess needed to be scrapped, and others on social media referred to the scenes of MPs queuing as the #ReesMoggConga.

The scrapping of virtual proceedings has been described by some as 'discriminatory' against those unable to attend Parliament due to the Coronavirus. Labour's shadow leader of the House, Valarie Vaz said the government's plan was "discriminatory", adding "I don't know if the leader is living in another universe but the pandemic is still going on. It is not right, or just, or fair."

On Tuesday, MPs that were shielding were unable to participate in proceedings.

Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg has said that the government will lay a motion to be voted on this Wednesday to ensure that some virtual proceedings can continue for members of the House that are shielding and unable to return to Parliament for medical reasons.

 

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