The Procedure Committee of the House of Commons, of which Chris Elmore MP is a member, has today published a report setting out practical proposals for a new a system of proxy voting.
On 1 February the Commons voted in favouring of establishing proxy voting for MPs - the Procedure Committee’s remit is to advise the House on its procedures, and so it undertook a swift inquiry to inform the House whether, and how, its proposal could be implemented.
The proposals, for the House to consider, would allow proxy voting for MPs who are new parents. The recommendations made in the Procedure Committee report include:
• Participation in a proxy voting scheme should not be compulsory, and eligible parents are entitled to vote in person or to be paired under existing arrangements if they wish.
• A proxy voting scheme approved by the House should operate under the authority of the Speaker, who will certify the appointment of a proxy.
• The names of MPs taking up their eligibility for a proxy vote, and the name of the MP acting as a proxy, ought to be published. Changes to a proxy arrangement ought to require a period of notice.
• Proxy voting ought to be available for use in divisions on all public and private business in the Chamber as well as in deferred divisions and in ballots for the election of the Speaker, Deputy Speakers and select committee chairs.
• The House ought to decide whether proxy voting ought to be restricted to voting on Mondays to Thursdays only, or restricted to votes on Government business.
• Proxy voting ought not be used for votes on motions to call an early parliamentary general election, and proxy votes ought not to be counted when deciding whether the House is quorate. The House ought to decide whether proxy votes ought to be counted when deciding whether there is a sufficient majority (100 in favour) for a closure of debate.
• Members should bear the reputation of the House in mind in choosing whether to take up their entitlement to a proxy vote in highly significant divisions, such as on whether to commit troops to armed conflict.
Following the Report, Chris Elmore, said:
“I am pleased to have played a role in the Committee’s report which now sets out a practical way for the House to implement proxy voting.”
“Ultimately it is the decision of the House as to whether plans go ahead, but I would be delighted if this paved the way for new parents being allowed to proxy vote whilst away from the House.”