Proxy voting and parental absence Contents

Annex 2: proposed provisions of a proxy voting scheme

For ease of reference, the relevant recommendations of this report relating to the provisions of a proxy voting scheme are set out below as they would take effect in any such scheme.


Proxy voting shall be available to new mothers, new fathers and adoptive parents. (Paragraph 44)

A Member shall demonstrate eligibility for the scheme by producing the following documents to the Speaker:

The production of such a certificate shall be a sufficient requirement to register for the scheme, and no further validation shall be required. (Paragraph 45)

It shall not be compulsory to take up eligibility for the scheme. (Paragraph 62)

The entitlement to a proxy vote, and to its use, is personal to the Member eligible. (Paragraph 62)


The maximum duration of the dispensation to vote by proxy shall be as follows:

Any period of absence taken by a mother or primary adopter shall start at or before the due date or adoption date and should be taken as a continuous period of up to six months, including periods when the House is adjourned, prorogued or dissolved. (Paragraph 47)

The absence claimed by the father, partner or second adopter shall be taken in one continuous period of two weeks. (Paragraph 47)

A Member eligible for the scheme shall specify in writing to the Speaker the dates on which the absence shall begin and end, subject to the maximum durations set out in the scheme. During that period the Member shall be be entitled to cast a vote by proxy. (Paragraph 48)

If the specified start (or end) date of absence given is not a sitting day, the period of entitlement shall begin (or end) when the Speaker takes the Chair on the next sitting day. (Paragraph 48)

Where it is certified that a Member is unable, because of pregnancy, to travel to Westminster by air, the maximum period may be extended by no more than four weeks, to include the period before the due date where travel to Westminster is not possible. (Paragraph 50)

Designation of proxy

When specifying the dates of absence, the Member eligible for proxy voting shall name the Member who has agreed to carry her or his proxy vote, thereby vouching that an agreement has been entered into. (Paragraph 48)

A Member shall to be free to choose any other Member of the House who is eligible to vote in divisions to act as a proxy. (Paragraph 53)

Publishing the arrangement

On receipt of the specified information the Speaker shall issue a certificate setting it out in full, and cause it to be entered in the Votes and Proceedings. (Paragraph 49)

Varying the arrangement

A Member who wishes to change the Member who is their proxy, to end their period of proxy voting earlier than originally notified, or to cast a vote in person on a specific item of business, shall give written notice to the Speaker as early as possible, and at the very latest by the scheduled rise of the House on the sitting day before the change is to take effect. (Paragraph 57)

The Speaker shall issue a new certificate, which shall appear in the Votes and Proceedings on the day that it is issued. (Paragraph 57)

Changes of proxy made for a specified period shall take effect when the Speaker takes the Chair on the first sitting day specified, and shall end when the House rises on the last sitting day specified. (Paragraph 57)

Exercising the proxy vote

A Member eligible to vote by proxy must agree with the Member nominated as their proxy when the proxy vote will be cast and how it will be exercised. (Paragraph 55)

A proxy vote may be cast according to the provisions of Standing Order No. [ ] (Voting by proxy for parental absence). (Paragraph 85)

A proxy vote shall not be cast in any division in a general committee. (Paragraphs 86 to 88)

A proxy vote shall not be cast in any division in a select committee. (Paragraph 89)

A Member designated as a proxy will be expected to act in strict accordance with the instruction given by the absent Member. (Paragraph 54)

A Member designated as a proxy may cast their own vote in one lobby and the proxy vote in the other, and may cast a proxy vote without casting their own vote at all. (Paragraph 54)

A Member registered as voting by proxy who wishes to vote in person shall be entitled to do so, provided that the Speaker has been notified by the end of the previous sitting day that the proxy arrangement is to be suspended. (Paragraph 56)

In divisions in legislative grand committees, a Member who is not a member of the committee shall be entitled to enter a division lobby to cast a proxy vote for a committee member. (Paragraph 79)

Recording a proxy vote in a division in the House or Committee of the whole House

A Member casting a proxy vote in a division shall inform the Division Clerk at the appropriate desk, and the tellers at the doors of the lobby. (Paragraph 58)

At the same time the Member casting the proxy vote shall make it clear whether that Member is casting his or her own vote in the same lobby. (Paragraph 58)

When listing the result of divisions, both online and in its printed edition, the Official Report (Hansard) shall note votes cast by proxy, by (a) marking a symbol adjacent to the name of the absent Member and (b) identifying the Member who cast the proxy vote. (Paragraph 59)

The record of a proxy vote shall be treated as an integral part of the digital record of Commons divisions and shall be shared as open data in a format compatible with Parliament’s Open Data output, both as part of the dataset for each division and as a standalone output. (Paragraph 59)

Detailed arrangements for implementation of this scheme insofar as it relates to the recording of votes may be made by the Clerk of Divisions. (Paragraph 60)

Published: 15 May 2018