The past week has been pretty hectic. The Lords has been busy getting on with the detailed scrutiny of legislation. However, peers have also been keenly interested in what has been going on in the Commons. Many have followed the proceedings on screen. Now that offices have TV screens, it is possible to get on with work while also keeping an eye on the screen: we can access the feed from each chamber as well as the annunciator. In other words, we can just keep an eye on current business or we can actually watch the debate. However, if we want to watch a debate in the Commons in person, we can go over and sit in one of the small side galleries in the Commons: a couple of benches are reserved for us, though you cannot squeeze many in. I watched on screen much of the the two-day debate on the House of Lords Reform Bill, but went over to the Commons to watch the wind-up speeches and the division on Second Reading. The chamber was noisy and the result obviously keenly anticipated. It was one of those historic occasions.
Just as we can go over to the Commons to watch proceedings, MPs are entitled to come and stand below the Bar (just behind the cross-benches shown in the picture) in the Lords to watch proceedings. Though it is not unusual for peers to pop over to watch proceedings in the Commons, it is fairly rare to see an MP standing below Bar in the Lords. An MP occasionally pops over to collect guests they have arranged seats for below Bar or a front-benchers may come to watch proceedings on a relevant Bill. The only time when we saw MPs in some numbers was when we were debating the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill. When the Commons rose, it was not unusual for MPs to come over to the Lords to observe the lengthy deliberations on amendments to the Bill. It actually became quite crowded on occasion. At least the MPs got to see the House in action.