Virtual Parliament and the greens

I have been pushing for remote voting in the Lords and the functionality to make it happen is being put in place. Myself and Natalie have also been keen to ensure that the greens continue to get their voice heard with questions and during debates. This is my exchange with a Minister yesterday:

“… remote voting is already done in other places. Given the advances into virtual sittings that we have made in the past two weeks, I think that remote voting has to come to ensure that there is a democratic aspect to the legislation that we pass.

There is a formula for the allocation of Questions and supplementary questions. I am sure that your Lordships know that the two Greens in the House are very enthusiastic participants in almost its every aspect. I would hate to think that we were excluded because of some weird allocation of Questions. Is that something the committee can look into?”

Lord Baker of Dorking response

“On the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, the House of Commons authorities are developing the functionality for remote voting, but use of it would need to be approved by that House. The House of Lords could develop a similar platform if it desired, but due to the demands on the Parliamentary Digital Service, this would be at the expense of other work. Because of the differences in the technical platforms used by each House, such functionality would take a number of weeks to develop. I am open to the noble Baroness and others keeping in touch with me on this issue.

On the second point raised by the noble Baroness, I am aware from my conversations with her in the past that she wishes for Greens and non-affiliated Members to get their fair share of Questions and other business in this Chamber. I will ensure that they get that. There is not much in the guidance at the moment, but as a first step, I will bring her point to the Procedure Committee.”