Sometimes things get better

Last night in the Commons the new government brought forward proposals to create a better and stronger Parliament.

There will be a September sitting, so the government does not go from July to October without Parliament to ask awkward questions. The Commons will have a backbench Business Committee with time to allocate as we see fit, which amounts to the equivalent of around one sitting day a week. In due course there will be a House Business committee, to co-ordinate backbench time and debates chosen by backbenchers with government time and debates.

The last Parliament did not meet often enough, and too much of its agenda was chosen for it by the government and supported by use of the Labour majority. This Parliament will meet more and have more freedom to debate the things that matter most to the country and the issues that the government may find inconvenient to discuss. The last government introduced “topical” debates on a Thursday which were often just the spin theme of the week for the PM. These debates often proved unpopular even with the majority that sustained them, and increased the House’s frustration at the inability to choose subjects that the vocal and often substantial minority wanted to debate.

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9 Comments

  1. Kevin Lohse
    Posted June 16, 2010 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    These changes are an enormous improvement towards making the government of the day accountable to Parliamentary scutiny, and do much to destroy the "democratic dictatorship" meme so beloved of Blair/Brown and their successors. Whether the coalition will rue these decisions in 3 years time is, of course, a moot point.

  2. Derek Duncan
    Posted June 16, 2010 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    That all sounds as if Parliament is going in the right direction! Could these proposals even improve the public's respect for the institution? Who has put forward these proposals – Mr Speaker Bercowe?

  3. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 16, 2010 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    I hope this additional time will enable you to undo quickly the damaging legislation that Labour inflicted on us over the last 13 years. The start the coalition government has made has certainly given us some optimism for the future.

  4. oldrightie
    Posted June 16, 2010 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Might begin by debating the Barking disgrace?

  5. Mark
    Posted June 16, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    There have been some other announcements that have raised a cheer from me too – most recently Theresa May's suspension of the vetting and barring scheme. I hope she has the courage to dispense entirely with the new ISA quango, and to allow many organisations to decide for themselves whether they pursue some official check, or rely on common sense and references (they should of course reveal which route they adopt). The market would then decide the most efficient and effective form of protection, and which activities merit official checks (because consumers might choose not to use some activities if they felt the official check was worth paying for). It would not be surprising if the box-tick official check turned out to be less effective, as well as likely being more costly.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted June 16, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      As a teacher, I can say that we had a wonderful system pre Blunket. Every applicant had to send in two referees and their phone numbers. These were checked. There was a "Black List" which any Head could access.
      If any teacher did kiddy fiddling, the deal was that they were given the bottle of whisky and a gun.
      It worked!

  6. christina sarginson
    Posted June 16, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    After reading this blog I am feeling very excited about the new coalition government, with such a big agenda it is imporant to ensure that everything is debated and action taken. There are many new MP's and it is always motivating at the beginning of a job, I hope this continues and progess is made quickly.

  7. Citizen Responsible
    Posted June 16, 2010 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    After 13 long years of Blair/Brown and Labour, these changes are so encouraging and welcome.

  8. fedupvoter
    Posted June 16, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    why the summer recess? I dont get weeks off, I dont get a spare flat to get nearer to the job I chose, I dont get money to kit out said flat. Daily attendance at work, centralised mp's housing and office complex and no subsistence. Work like the rest of us.

    save the labour bashing and just get on with running the country. Its about time politics was taken out of getting this country back on its feet.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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