As a member of the House of Commons Procedure Committee, James Sunderland welcomes the decision to extend virtual and remote participation for MPs who are shielding, but seeks assurances that these changes are only temporary.
As another member of the Procedure Committee, I commend my right hon. Friend for her leadership, for her statement and for the report that she published last night. It is absolutely the right thing to do to bring in this motion and to extend virtual and remote participation for our Members. May I urge her to consider the fact that this can only be temporary and that we must of course return to normality and a fully operating Chamber as soon as possible?
You will spot, Mr Deputy Speaker, that Procedure Committee members are very active in the Chamber, and it is great to have a contribution from another member. I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend. I want to be clear to the Government: anything that they have written in this report is about how we conduct our business today and for the foreseeable future until we can get back to normal, but the Committee is unanimous in wanting to get back to normal, returning to our procedures as they were, as soon as we possibly can. It will then of course be for the Procedure Committee and future Committees to consider the way that procedure happens in this House and things that they may want to change in the future, but the measures we are asking for today are only for the period of the pandemic, not beyond that.