JACOB Rees-Mogg is urged to bring Westminster voting into the 21st century in a cross-party call by MPs.

The SNP's Amy Callaghan was locked out of voting on the Internal Market Bill and other legislation while she recovered from a brain haemorrhage.

Tory MP Tracey Crouch was unable to take part in a debate on breast cancer while undergoing treatment for the same disease.

They are now among a group of four MPs calling on the Leader of the House of Commons to modernise the parliament and "ensure democratic inclusion for all constituents in the 21st century" like overseas legislatures have.

Together with LibDem MP Wendy Chamberlain and Naz Shah of Labour, the women have urged Rees-Mogg to bring back the remote participation allowed while Westminster was reacting to the first Covid wave and keep it in place for good.

In a joint letter, they stated: "At an earlier stage in the pandemic, Parliament proved that it was perfectly capable of operating with hybrid participation and proxy voting.

"The decision to revoke it represented a backward step for inclusivity and for the modernisation of this parliament.

The National:

"It was a conscious choice to repeal what was a progressive move and to exclude any member — and crucially their constituents — who are unable to attend in person."

All four of the politiicans have had to use proxy voting and remote participation at one time, as have many other MPs.

Parliament's Procedure Committee is holding a probe into allowing proxy voting for those suffering from ill-health, but the four claim that's not enough, with members recently forced to miss key business due to bereavement, hospitalisation, self-isolation and car crashes.

They say it is "critical" that all MPs are able to vote on parliamentary business because "constituents rely on them" to do so, adding: "It is simply not good enough for the government to remove mitigations that have been proven to work and to disenfranchise members and their constituents.

"If a member misses an important vote in the house, or the chance to put on record the views of their constituents in crucial debates, their constituents' views are not counted. The current pairing system does not address this fundamental issue as it isn’t allowed to be put on record, but rather cancels the vote not only of the member in question but also the person with whom they are paired.

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"We are urging Westminster to look at other modern parliaments across the world, who operate with hybrid/virtual proceedings and are richer for it."

This includes France and Luxembourg, where proxy voting is in place.

The letter goes on: "Parliamentary proceedings in their current form continue to put MPs and staff at risk, with physical distancing impossible in many parts of the house – particularly the voting lobbies.

"The weeks prior to the Christmas recess saw many members and staff on the estate contracting Covid or being asked to isolate as contacts. For any member, but particularly so for those who are unwell, clinically vulnerable or carers, this is exclusionary and causing constituents across the UK to be disenfranchised.

"It is not the time for the government to dig its heels in on this matter. For the proper functioning of parliament and to ensure democratic inclusion, we urge you to reintroduce remote participation, including voting, for all members during this period — and thereafter to keep it in place for those members who are unable to attend in person."

Commenting, East Dunbartonshire MP Callaghan said: "We saw last year that the Westminster Parliament was capable of operating with hybrid participation and proxy voting to keep physical numbers down on the estate, preventing MPs becoming super spreaders and posing a risk to their constituents. I am urging the UK Government to bring back proxy voting.

"For the ongoing operation of parliament and our democratic processes to be upheld, the UK Government must bring back hybrid proceedings. It is ridiculous that, in the 21st century, this is not an option at Westminster. I’m not broken; Westminster is."