Virtual participation by disabled Members

This paragraph (or sub-paragraphs) have been updated, added or deleted since publication of the 2019 edition. Any sub-paragraphs updated since the 2019 edition can be highlighted by clicking ‘Highlight updates’ below. The most recent updates to this publication were made on August 2021. See the summaries and schedules for each successive update from the Home page.

25.60AMembers of the Lords who are physically unable to attend the House on grounds of long-term disability may apply for ‘eligible Member status’. If this is granted, they may participate either in person or virtually in proceedings in the Chamber or in Grand Committee.1

Virtual participation is subject to certain constraints. Eligible Members may choose to participate virtually in all business of which there is sufficient notice:

  1. in business with a speakers' list, eligible Members should indicate that they wish to take part remotely when signing up to speak;
  2. in business without a speakers' list, eligible Members should indicate their wish to take part remotely by a time agreed by the Usual Channels the previous working day.

Eligible disabled Members who have given notice of their wish to intervene in oral questions, and, where there is sufficient notice to allow virtual participation, oral statements or repeated urgent questions, are called on by the Lord Speaker at an appropriate point. This means that backbench remote participants, like those who are physically present, are not guaranteed an opportunity to speak, though it is expected that the sense of the House, assisted by the Leader of the House, will support their continuing full participation.2 In other business with no speakers' list, there is a fixed point at which eligible Members participating remotely are called by the Member on the Woolsack.3

Eligible Members may vote electronically or by telephone whether on or off the Parliamentary Estate.

Footnotes

  1. 1. Applications for eligible Member status are considered and decided by the Additional Support Group, appointed by the Commission.
  2. 2. Procedure and Privileges Committee, Fourth Report of Session 2021–22, Speakers' lists for oral questions and ‘Secretary of State’ questions – Divisions: pass-readers, HL 104, and Sixth Report of Session 2021–22, Divisions: pass-readers; Sessional select committees; Participation of eligible members in oral statements and repeated urgent questions, HL 152.
  3. 3. Procedure and Privileges Committee, First Report of Session 2021–22, Procedural adaptations arising from the hybrid House; Interim option of voting using PeerHub; Ongoing virtual participation by disabled members, HL 41.