Following the vote on the European Union Withdrawal Bill, a number of MPs have called for the UK to introduce electronic voting in Parliament with the Green Party Co-Leader, Caroline Lucas MP, describing the current system as “barmy”.
The SNP MP for Aberdeen North, Kirsty Blackman, tweeted that the existing lobby system is “archaic” and eats into time which could be spent further debating issues.
Electronic voting, anyone? 80 minutes in and we’ve managed just 5 votes so far :(. Massive queues as MPs slowly file through the Aye & No lobbies. One day people will look back at this and think we were all barmy ….
— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) January 17, 2018
Michael Russell MSP, from the Scottish Parliament which already has electronic voting, said the analogue method “reduces the potential for range of amendments and proposals as voting on them takes too long”. Hannah Bardell, SNP MP and WebRoots Democracy Ambassador, responded that the argument that the lobby system provides an opportunity to network as “total nonsense” and that “hours” are wasted.
Labour MP, Kerry McCarthy tweeted that she is “not usually a proponent of electronic voting as it’s useful to see colleagues in division lobby but sometimes it would make life a lot easier!” Mhairi Black estimated that two hours were spent “doing nothing other than laps of the same corridor” and decried the “waste of public money”.
SNP MP, Pete Wishart, raised the issue in the Commons and said that “almost 2 working days” were “spent in cramped division lobbies doing absolutely nothing”. Leader of the House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom, responded that the House will keep electronic voting “under review”.