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Politics and International RelationsPart of Economic, Social and Political Science

The Remotely Representative House

Published: 15 March 2021
Remotely representative.

Parliament could lose its best chance to improve diversity amongst its MPs if it scraps the virtual working approaches brought in during the COVID-19 pandemic according to a new report, authored by Dr Jessica C. Smith from the University of Southampton.

The Remotely Representative House report, launched by the Centenary Action Group, advocates for the new ways of working, which has helped MPs to participate while balancing health, home, travel or constituency responsibilities, to be retained when needed. 
Since the first wave of the pandemic MPs have been allowed to take part remotely in House of Commons proceedings to advocate on behalf of their constituents.

At impressive speed the House of Commons put in place new ways of working that included asking oral questions of Ministers and the Prime Minister, participating in Select Committee meetings and report writing, and for a short period of time, voting remotely on legislation. The Prime Minister even attended PMQs virtually whilst isolating at home. 
This new report makes recommendations on how Parliament can build on the benefits of remote working practices it adopted through lockdown to improve diversity amongst its members and staff.

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