Eddie Mair brands MPs 'conga line' voting as "nonsense" after remote voting is overturned

2 June 2020, 17:41

By Fiona Jones

Eddie Mair brands MPs 'conga line' voting as "nonsense" after an amendment allowing MPs to vote remotely has been defeated by 242 votes to 185 in a victory for the Government.

Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg tabled a motion to prevent the resumption of a virtual Parliament, which has allowed MPs to legislate from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Many MPs have raised concerns that travelling to the Commons to vote discriminates against shielding politicians, with some Tweeting it is "utter farce" and "ridiculous."

LBC's Westminster reporter Ben Kentish has seen MPs "cramming" in the queue "not 2 metres apart, not even 2 centimetres apart."

Eddie was gobsmacked: "What we've seen is they have to queue up, socially distant, it snakees all the way back in to Westminster Hall where there are lines as if you're queueing up at an airport to check in, then they step forward and get the nod from the Speaker and go to one side or the other of the Speaker's chair."

"I'm all for Common's tradition...but for heaven's sake it's nonsense!"

Institute of Government spokesperson Alice Lilly said it is "quite remarkable" as the queue snakes back to Portcullis House which is across the road.

Ms Lilly estimated that each vote will take double the amount of time and there are three today.

"What we have with remote voting is a system that did fundamentally work, it was a huge departure for the House of Commons to do that. Lots of MPs, even though they agreed to it, were very uneasy about it and it was certainly only something that was temporary."

Ms Lilly pointed out that some MPs have also become confused by the new virtual voting system, with Chancellor of the Exchequer mistakenly voting against government.

"Fundamentally it was a system that worked and allowed all MPs to vote."

Many MPs have voiced their concern about this queueing system.

Labour MP Steve Reed said: "The absolute farce of scrapping virtual voting during the lockdown - the Government is making a mockery of Parliament and sending entirely the wrong signal to the country about following the guidelines."

Lib Dem MP Layla Moran said: "I got told off for taking this picture, but people need to see how ridiculous this is. We are now 5 lines along with more snaking up the stairs. And not all MPs can be here as some are vulnerable. Each vote is going to take at least 30mins and we have 3 today. What a shower."

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