Historic day as Parliament returns digitally

Yesterday, Preseli MP Stephen Crabb contributed to a historic day for Parliament, with the House of Commons using video-conference technology to meet virtually for the first time.

The challenge of how Parliament can continue to do its work effectively under the current lockdown has required Westminster to bring in changes that would have been unthinkable just a few weeks ago.

The answer came via a hybrid system, with some MPs in Westminster and more ‘logging in’ from their constituencies. Extra screens have been installed in the Commons chamber so the few MPs physically present may see the others asking questions remotely.

The first set of questions under the new format were Wales Questions and Stephen Crabb, Chairman of the Wales Select Committee, asked a probing question on the importance of a clear plan for testing and tracing to beat coronavirus and the need for clarity on who is running the strategy in Wales.

Commenting following the session, Stephen Crabb said: “Given the national emergency and the extra powers that government has been given, it is essential for MPs to be able to question Ministers at this time. To be able to do this remotely using technology is really important. The normal hustle and bustle of Westminster makes social distancing very difficult so I am pleased an alternative solution has been developed. The Parliamentary staff who have made this possible deserve huge thanks for working tirelessly to get this up and running.”