Opinion: Zoom parliament could inspire a more democratic Commons

Accordingly, in parliament, the dress codes for MPs, the ermine, the gilded this and that, the bobbing and the bowing, are all said to encourage both lawmakers and citizens to take what happens in Westminster seriously. If you watch a standard prime minister’s questions, which for centuries has been dominated by a baying mob of former public school boys, you might get the feeling that traditions aren’t always collectively beneficial. While MPs are still required to wear appropriate clothing and somepoliticians have decorated their webcam backdrops with their own fancy accessories, remote working has largely stripped parliament of its customs and costumes. Video: Zoom parliament makes an almost glitch-free debut (Reuters) As for the rest of parliamentary business: select committees, ministerial statements, debates and questions from MPs are now all taking place online. Votes have been postponed for the moment, and plans for a digital system are being developed, so that the whips won’t have to force hundreds of MPs and peers, some of them potentially infectious with Covid-19, into thelobbies. Gallery: These four charts show how use of Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Zoom has skyrocketed (Business Insider) These changes have civilised the Commons and have the potential to make British politics more democratic and representative.