Parliamentary privilege refers to the lack of restrictions on what MPs and Lords can say in their respective Houses in Parliament; it grants them immunity from prosecution relating to statements made in debates. See this related question for a fuller picture.

Yesterday, the House of Commons adopted a motion on "hybrid proceedings" in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, allowing members to participate in debates from home, using video-conferencing technology in order to preserve social-distancing.

Has the issue of whether parliamentary privilege extends to contributions made outside the Palace of Westminster via video-conference been examined?

I can't find any reference to this issue in the linked motion above, except to say that the House will ensure "that its rules and procedures are adapted to permit as far as possible parity of treatment between Members participating virtually and Members participating in person", but perhaps this has been discussed elsewhere. Possibly video-conferencing has been used in evidence to select committees before, and this issue was raised then?

  • Turns out the New Zealand Parliament has simply "paused" itself for at least a month. Won't be holding sessions and pretty much all of the Select Committees are either not meeting or only virtually; there's a new SC dealing with oversight during COVID and has 6 opposition and 5 government members.
    – CGCampbell
    Apr 23, 2020 at 21:50

1 Answer 1


On viewing the recording of the first session of the hybrid proceedings today, I see that the Speaker addressed this issue at the outset:

Mr. Speaker

Yesterday, the House agreed to a motion to allow Members to participate virtually in proceedings of the House, for the first time in 700 years of history of the House of Commons. I would like to welcome everyone, both Members joining us remotely from their constituencies up and down the UK, and Members here in the Chamber, to the first hybrid sitting of the House of Commons. I thank hon. Members who are present in the Chamber for continuing to observe the guidance that has been issued about social distancing, in relation not only to each other, but to the staff of the House who are in the Chamber, and indeed myself.

Before we begin, I want to place on record that parliamentary privilege applies on the same basis to all Members participating, regardless of whether they are contributing virtually or are present in the Chamber. Also, of course, the same rules and courtesies apply to Members participating virtually, as far as is practicable, as they do to the Members participating physically. Members present in the Chamber should not rise in their places to catch my eye but wait to be called, although they should then stand to speak—if they are in the Chamber.

Transcript taken from Hansard

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .