Two Cabinet ministers were among 12 Conservative MPs who cast votes in the House of Commons while watching a Euro 2020 football match at Wembley, it has emerged.
The MPs voted in a division on the EU Settlement Scheme during the England-Denmark semi final on July 7, raising questions about the proxy system used during the pandemic.
Mark Spencer, the Chief Whip, was among the 12 Conservatives. He is responsible for maintaining discipline in the Tory parliamentary party and whips MPs to turn up in the Commons for divisions.
At least five Labour MPs also attended the match and voted by proxy.
The website Politico, which first revealed that MPs had attended the match, said that 11 of a total 18 members who are known to have voted remotely received their tickets free from Entain, a gambling company.
The tickets were reportedly worth £3,457.
Other senior Conservatives at the match include Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary; Kit Malthouse, the Policing Minister; and Nigel Adams, Minister without Portfolio.
Backbenchers who watched the match included Scott Benton, Philip Davies, Esther McVey, Laurence Robertson, Mark Jenkinson, Craig Whittaker, Mike Wood and Aaron Bell, Politico reported.
Proxy rules brought in to tackle pandemic
Almost all MPs were using the proxy voting system in July to avoid overcrowding in the Commons during the coronavirus crisis.
However, official rules said the online proxy system was for “members who do not wish to vote in person for medical or public health reasons related to the pandemic”, and allowed one MP to cast a vote on behalf of another. It has since been abolished.
The news came after it was revealed that Sir Geoffrey Cox, the former attorney general, voted by proxy during the pandemic from the Caribbean.
Sir Geoffrey was advising the British Virgin Islands over a Foreign Office inquiry into corruption.
He said Mr Spencer gave him permission to cast votes by proxy while he was away. He denied that his constituents lost out as a result of him being abroad.