Meg Hillier: Socially-distanced voting system ‘completely bonkers’

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Labour’s Meg Hillier has criticised the new socially-distanced voting system to be adopted in the House of Commons after MPs rejected calls to continue online voting.

Yesterday’s procedure saw members queuing for hundreds of metres round Westminster in order to maintain a two-metre distance as they voted on how the process should be carried out.

Speaking with talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer, the Hackney South and Shoreditch MP said the new system was not sustainable.

“It was completely bonkers frankly, and even those who voted for it were admitting that privately in the queue.

“It’s an embarrassment that the government, that is trying to give clear communication to businesses and others that they can go back safely, couldn’t even manage to get its own house in order and have a system in place for MPs to do this in a sensible, safe and logical way.”

Ms Hillier also echoed concerns from the Equalities and Human Rights Commission that returning to in-person voting excluded members who are shielding or shielding members of their household.

However, despite the warnings, the proposal was approved by 261 votes to 163, majority 98, while an amendment to allow remote voting to return was defeated by 185 votes to 242, majority 57, following a 46-minute division.

A total of 31 Conservative MPs rebelled to support the amendment, according to the division list.

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