Tories Attacking Democracy By Shutting Down Virtual Parliament

Millions disenfranchised by Tory plans to block MP’s voting remotely.

The Tories are “attacking democracy” after the UK government shut down virtual participation in the Westminster Parliament.

Dr Philippa Whitford MP (pictured), who is excluded from Parliament following the decision, said the Tory government was disenfranchising millions of people from across the UK by blocking their elected MPs from voting and participating remotely.

The Tory government’s move comes despite cross-party consensus between SNP, Labour, Lib Dem, Plaid Cymru, SDLP, Green, Alliance Party, and some Tory MPs that remote participation must continue.

On Saturday, a report from the Procedure Committee recommended virtual participation remains “for as long as the pandemic continues.”

Commenting, SNP Westminster Health Spokesperson Dr Philippa Whitford MP said:

“The Tory government is attacking democracy by shutting down virtual participation in the UK Parliament.

“Many people across Scotland and the UK will be disenfranchised by the move, which will block their MPs from participating and voting.

“The SNP has consistently called for virtual participation to remain, for as long as the pandemic continues.

“That is the best and only way to ensure all MPs can do their job while protecting public health, in line with the guidance across the four nations.

“It is particularly unjust that those MPs who will be most disenfranchised, by the removal of the Hybrid Parliament have been excluded from voting on this motion.

“This move by Jacob Rees-Mogg does not increase engagement with the Parliament but reduces it as the number of Members who can be accommodated in the Chamber remains at fifty.

“Many MPs from Scotland and elsewhere, through no choice of their own, will find themselves locked out of Parliament if they or a family member are shielding or in a high-risk group.
“Over time, other MPs will be affected by quarantine and self-isolation requirements as the pandemic continues.

“SNP MPs will continue to press the Tory government to reverse its botched plans and reinstate full virtual participation.

“Meanwhile, we will balance protecting public health and Scotland’s democratic voice by sending the minimum number of MPs required to hold the UK government to account, while the majority continue to work in their constituencies.”