Commons hosts first ever virtual PMQs

Written by Sam Trendall on 19 November 2020 in News
News

Boris Johnson appeared in Westminster via video link

Credit: Parliamentary Copyright/Open Parliament Licence v3.0

Boris Johnson yesterday became the first prime minister to participate virtually in the weekly parliamentary prime minister’s questions.

Despite testing negative for Covid-19, the PM is continuing to isolate for a period of two weeks having come into contact with a fellow Conservative MP who was later found to have the virus. Unable to attend the Commons in person yesterday, Johnson appeared in the chamber via videoconference (pictured above). 

His answers were streamed on the large screens that were installed earlier this year to enable parliament to continue to sit through the coronavirus crisis.

As well as the prime minister, six other MPs appeared via video or audio connection to ask their questions.


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Others, including opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer, participated in PMQs from the Commons.

At the conclusion of proceedings, speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said: “I would like to put a big thank you on record to the broadcasting team for making today happen.”

Johnson could be heard to say “hear, hear” in response.

This week’s PMQs took place in light of leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg having said that he is “urgently exploring how we can support additional virtual participation” in parliamentary business, after Conservative MP Tracey Crouch was unable to take part in a debate on breast cancer – as she is currently undergoing treatment for the disease. 

 

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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