LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s parliament agreed on Tuesday to move to a hybrid format while a nationwide lockdown to tackle the coronavirus outbreak continues, with only a handful of lawmakers attending in person and more than 100 others joining virtually.
The new arrangements, which were approved without a formal vote, will initially be in place until May 12, House of Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg told parliament, but may have to be renewed at that point.
The House of Commons, parliament’s elected lower chamber, will sit on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with the first two hours taken up by questions to government ministers and ministerial statements.
“Parliament has always evolved to make sure it could work efficiently,” said Rees-Mogg, who coordinates government business in the Commons.
“Any changes now will be temporary for the period of the lockdown because, like many things, the chamber works best when members can meet in person.”
Rees-Mogg also said the government intended initially to stick to non-contentious business that was not expected to need formal votes, and was looking at how remote voting could be put in place for the future.
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Stephen Addison)