COMMONS

House of Commons approves Procedure Committee reports

14 October 2011

The House of Commons has voted in favour of three Procedure Committee recommendations aimed at modernising the House of Commons and improving the effectiveness of parliamentary scrutiny.

MPs backed a change to the rules about the use of electronic devices in the Chamber and in committees. Under the new rules, MPs will be able to use smartphones and tablets during debates, provided that they are silent and their use does not impair decorum.

MPs also unanimously agreed to continue experimenting with explanatory statements on amendments to Bills. Under this system, any MP putting forward an amendment to a Bill would also be able to table a short statement explaining what the effect of that amendment would be. The committee believes that this will be an important step towards making parliamentary proceedings more understandable and accessible for the public and for MPs themselves.

The House also backed a proposal to put a quota on the number of written parliamentary questions that could be tabled electronically. The committee hoped that this would lead to the tabling of fewer, better questions and to higher quality answers from the Government, as well as reducing the cost to the public purse.

Further Information

Watch and read the debate and the views expressed by MPs on Parliament TV and in Commons Hansard.

Read the Procedure Committee reports

Image: PA

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