Where to find guidance on taking part in proceedings during the current pandemic
On 2 and 4 June 2020, the House agreed temporary changes to the way Members vote in the Chamber and to enable certain Members to take part virtually in proceedings during the pandemic from 8 June.
From 11 January 2021, all Members can participate virtually in proceedings in the Chamber under a scheme run by the Speaker. Under the scheme Members can participate in Questions, Urgent Questions and Statements, debates (including moving a motion) and present paper petitions. From 8 March 2021, Westminster Hall debates were reinstated with Members able to participate virtually. All these temporary arrangements are due to remain in force until 22 July 2021.
- Anyone can find out more about COVID-19 partial virtual participation in proceedings in the House of Commons on the Parliament.uk website
- Members can find guidance on participating virtually in scrutiny proceedings and new ways of voting on the Parliamentary intranet. Please note: this link will only work if you have a parliamentary email account.
The section of this Guide on proxy voting has been updated to reflect changes to the way voting works in the House of Commons, including changes resulting from the current pandemic. Otherwise, all the guidance on this site relates to normal proceedings in the House of Commons.
All questions must:
- seek information or press for action
- be about something a minister is responsible for
- be based on fact, not speculation
- use neutral language and not contain unnecessary information
- not ask for information which is readily available
- not refer to a case that is active in the UK courts
The Table Office acts under the Speaker’s authority to make sure questions meet the House’s rules.
To submit a written or oral question (including a Prime Minister’s question) you can:
- use the MemberHub to submit your question online (you can submit a maximum of 20 written questions a day online)
- take it to the Table Office or ask another MP to take it for you
- sign the question and then ask your staff to post it or take it to the Table Office
Business questions to the Leader of the House (the minister responsible for organising Government business) can’t be submitted in advance. You just need to be in the Chamber for the start of Business questions on Thursday mornings.
You can also apply to the Speaker to be allowed to ask an urgent question in the Chamber. It must be about a matter of public importance and require an urgent answer.