ERS Cymru call for virtual parliaments across the UK to be established following success of Senedd session

Posted on the 8th April 2020

Campaigners have congratulated the Welsh Parliament, the Senedd, on a second successful virtual plenary session held today (8 April).

The plenary session was the first to be live-streamed and featured multiple representatives from each of the Senedd’s parties. It allowed for statements from multiple Ministers and questions from backbench members across the chamber.

Members also virtually voted on the first stage of the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill, which was the first virtual vote on legislation for the Senedd since the coronavirus crisis forced decision-makers to seek online solutions to upholding scrutiny.

The ERS are now calling for other parliaments to follow the Senedd’s lead and move parliamentary business online to ensure democratic scrutiny during the coronavirus pandemic [1].

Director of ERS Cymru, Jess Blair, said:

“The current coronavirus crisis means that scrutiny is even more important than ever. It’s vital in these times that our elected representatives are able to continue to do their jobs in serving their constituents.

“Today’s virtual plenary by the Senedd allowed ministers to update members on developments in fighting coronavirus and members of the Assembly to ask questions and hold ministers to account.

“Parliaments across the UK should follow Wales’ lead and ensure they are continuing to operate and serve the people they represent. Unlike the Senedd the UK Parliament remains in recess, so must take the actions required to allow a virtual parliament when it returns after Easter.

“Decision makers have a vital job to do both in how we respond to this crisis and how we hold those decisions to account and ensure that they work for the people they impact. Today’s session of the Senedd shows that despite this crisis parliaments can continue, in a different and innovative way”.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

[1] https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/latest-news-and-research/media-centre/press-releases/campaigners-urge-authorities-to-move-swiftly-on-virtual-parliament-and-start-grilling-ministers-right-away/

 

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