Michael Gove MP supports remote meetings in House of Commons debate
On 24 January 2022, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove MP, supported calls to allow local (parish and town) councils to have remote meetings.
In a House of Commons debate, Dr Neil Hudson MP asked Mr Gove if the government would “look to allow parish councils to sit in a virtual or hybrid format to increase and widen access and to help them work to the best of their ability”.
Mr Gove responded, declaring himself to be “strongly in sympathy with the view that hybrid meetings should continue to ensure the maximum amount of efficiency”. Mr Gove particularly emphasised the importance of holding online meetings for local councils with rural and dispersed populations.
The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) welcomes this positive step and urges the government to allow local councils to hold remote meetings permanently.
The lockdown period showed that remote meetings, aside from being a public health necessity, benefited local democracy and residents, with local councils reporting increased attendance by both councillors and the public and higher levels of transparency and openness.