Michael Gove, ‘strongly in sympathy with the view that hybrid meetings should continue’

28 January 2022

Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday 24 January 2022, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove MP, stated that he is ‘strongly in sympathy with the view that hybrid meetings should continue.’

When asked, ‘Volunteers who serve on our parish councils do an amazing job. In rural communities such as mine, there are significant challenges to attending meetings, such as transport, adverse weather, work and caring responsibilities. In the pandemic, we have seen that the virtual or hybrid format works well. Moving forward, will the Secretary of State look to allow parish councils to sit in virtual or hybrid format to increase and widen access and to help them work to the best of their ability?’

Michael Gove MP stated, ‘If during the pandemic we had not allowed councils to meet virtually, not only would we have impaired the effective working of local government, but we would never have known about Jackie Weaver and the country would have been the poorer for it. I commend the work of parish councils and others. I am strongly in sympathy with the view that hybrid meetings should continue in order to ensure the maximum amount of efficiency. There is a case for saying that certain significant local authority meetings should occur with all councillors present, but I want to proceed with the maximum amount of consensus to reflect the maximum level of efficiency and in particular of sensitivity to those who serve in constituencies such as my hon. Friend’s, where the rurality and dispersed nature of representation are important.

Click here to view the record of debates for the Commons Chamber, 24 January 2022.

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