The Speaker
Thursday, 13 June 2024 – 08:35
Image Credit: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor (CC BY 3.0)

How the House of Commons adapted to a global pandemic in 2020

This year, we’ve all had to try and adapt to the unprecedented circumstances we’ve found ourselves in – and it has been no different for the House of Commons. 

A short film has been produced by the House to show how House of Commons staff enabled parliamentary scrutiny to take place in 2020 while keeping people safe.

The Coronavirus pandemic has presented massive challenges and as a result, some of the biggest ever changes to the Parliamentary process have taken place.

Between April and December, over 3,500 remote contributions were made to proceedings in the chamber, due to social distancing rules only allowing a maximum of 50 MPs to physically be in the chamber at one time.

MPs spent more than 70 hours debating urgent questions, mostly related to COVID-19, while MPs spent over 120 hours putting questions to Government ministers, including the PM Boris Johnson.

Discussing the year, John Benger, Clerk of the House of Commons said;

“Few could have predicted what 2020 would bring, or that we could bring in such changes to the way the House of Commons functions at such speed.

“In what has been one of the most demanding and exhausting years the House has experienced I would like to thank all those colleagues who have ensured the House continues to fulfil its duties, often in challenging circumstances both personally and professionally.”

Speaker of the Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle has praised the “ingenuity, talent and sheer hard graft of members and parliamentary staff”

The short film can be watched above or via this link.

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