Looking for a Public Relations Agency? Use our Free matching service to find the right agency for you.

User login

Coronavirus crisis could usher in the digital Parliament UK needs

Parliament adjourning one week early for Easter was the right thing to do for two reasons. Importantly, this doesn’t mean the end of important policy discussions and should act as a wake up call on the need to further digitise Parliament.

MPs and Peers continuing to meet in busy debating chambers was setting a bad example for the public, just when the Prime Minister was driving the message to stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives. And with 35 MPs over 70 years of age and 150 over 60, they should look after their health, not just for themselves but for their families and the nation. Members of the House of Lords are on average older, meaning they are likely to be even more vulnerable to Covid-19.

But the early adjournment doesn’t mean the end of important political and policy discussions. Far from it. MPs Tweeted 131,921 times in March - more than any previous month. Driven by the Coronavirus crisis these digital discussions deal with important issues ranging from our transport network, to food security, to our technology infrastructure. Positively, millions are seeing and taking part in these fast moving debates.

And while many businesses have been able to adapt their working practices in response to the current crisis, Parliament has been left badly wanting. I hope this experience will lead to Parliament changing for the better. To date, bricks have been prioritised over clicks when it comes to investment decisions. This approach needs a drastic rethink with innovations now badly needed on everything from digital voting to online debates to ensure crises like this don’t interrupt the important work of Parliament or the public's ability to follow events and crucially have their voices heard.

PoliMonitor is offering all PRCA members FREE access to their premium services until Parliament returns later in April to help follow and take part in these important online discussions. Members can visit to create an account or email for more information.