Proxy voting: review of pilot arrangements Contents

Annex 2: text of proposed proxy voting scheme

Words proposed to be added to the June 2020 scheme appear highlighted in green.

Provisions expected to be temporary are highlighted in yellow.

Words proposed to be removed are struck through.

A. Eligibility

1)Proxy voting shall be available to

a)new mothers, new fathers and adoptive parents,

b)Members who are unable to attend at Westminster for medical or public health reasons related to the pandemic.

2)A Member shall demonstrate eligibility for part (a) of the scheme (parental leave) by self-certifying that they meet the eligibility requirement. 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.

3)A Member shall demonstrate eligibility for part (b) of the scheme by writing to the Speaker to assure the Speaker that they are unable to attend at Westminster for medical or public health reasons related to the pandemic.

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

5)It shall not be compulsory to take up eligibility for the scheme.

B. Duration

6)The maximum duration of the dispensation to vote by proxy for part (a) of the scheme (parental leave) shall be as follows:

7)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.

8)A mother may claim an additional four weeks’ absence before the due date. The six months of absence shall commence from the due date.

9)The absence claimed by the father, partner or second adopter shall be taken in one continuous period of two weeks. The absence claimed by the father, partner or second adopter shall be taken within six months of the birth or date of adoption.

10)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.

11)[A proxy vote under part (b) of the scheme (medical or public health reasons related to the pandemic) shall last until varied or rescinded or until [the expiry of any relevant order made by the House / the House otherwise orders]].

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

13)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.

14)A Member may apply for a proxy vote on any day before the specified start day. Applications may be taken until [time] on any non-sitting day. The period of entitlement shall begin when the Speaker takes the Chair the next sitting day.

C. Designation of proxy

15)When applying for a proxy vote, 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.

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

17)A Member may nominate no more than one proxy at any given time.

D. Publishing the arrangement

18)On receipt of the specified information the Speaker, or a Deputy Speaker acting under the Speaker’s authority, shall issue a certificate, and cause it to be entered in the Votes and Proceedings.

E. Varying the arrangement

19)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 either (a) the scheduled rise of the House on the sitting day before the day on which the change is to take effect or (b) [time] on a non-sitting day before that day.

20)The Speaker shall issue a new certificate if required under paragraph 16 above, which shall appear in the Votes and Proceedings either on the day that it is issued or on the first sitting day after issue if the day of issue is a non-sitting day.

21)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.

F. Exercising the proxy vote

22)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.

23)A proxy vote may be cast according to the provisions of [the relevant order of the House].

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

25)A Member designated as a proxy may cast their own vote one way and the proxy vote the other, and may cast a proxy vote without casting their own vote at all.

26)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 (see paragraph 16).

27)In divisions in legislative grand committees, a Member who is not a member of the committee shall be entitled to cast a proxy vote for a committee member.

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

28)A Member casting a proxy vote in a division shall inform the Tellers, and shall notify the division clerks, under arrangements authorised by the Speaker, of the name of the Member for whom they are proxy voting.

29)At the same time, the Member casting the proxy vote shall make it clear whether that Member is also casting his or her own vote.

30)When listing the result of divisions, both online and in its printed edition, the Official Report (Hansard) shall note votes cast by proxy, including the Member who cast the proxy vote.

31)The record of a proxy vote shall be treated as part of the digital record of the Commons.

Published: 10 September 2020