27 June 2003
Evidence from the Prime Minister:
Tuesday 8 July
The Prime Minister will give evidence to the Liaison Committee on Tuesday 8 July at 9.00 am in the Boothroyd Room in Portcullis House. The session is expected to last for up to two and a half hours.(1)
The session is expected to cover both domestic and international affairs. Questioning will be based on a limited number of themes selected in advance. Notice of the questions is not given to the Prime Minister.
This is the third such session of oral evidence given to the Committee by Tony Blair. The first took place on 16 July 2002, and the second on 21 January 2003. Sessions are held twice per year. These are among a range of recent reforms to the select committee system which have strengthened Parliament's ability to provide effective scrutiny and accountability for Government. (2)
As before, the session will be open to the press and public, and is being held in a room equipped with television cameras for broadcasting, enabling the media to make use of the signal for live and recorded broadcasts.
The session will also be available on Parliament's internal television network and will be webcast live on www.parliamentlive.tv.
An uncorrected transcript of the Prime Minister's session will be placed on the Internet at www.parliament.uk and in the Library of the House as soon as possible. The corrected transcript will be published in due course.
Notes for Editors
1. The Committee is chaired by Rt Hon Alan Williams (Labour, Swansea West) and includes the 34 Chairmen of select committees. It is appointed to consider general matters relating to the work of select committees; to advise the House of Commons Commission on select committees; to choose select committee reports for debate in the House and, by a decision of the House on 14 May 2002, to hear evidence from the Prime Minister on matters of public policy. It was nominated on 5 November 2001,22 July 2002 and 27 January 2003. The powers of the Committee are set out in House of Commons Standing Order No. 145. These are available on the Internet via www.parliament.uk.
2. Other recent reforms include:
A major expansion of pre-legislative scrutiny by committees, reflected in the establishment of a scrutiny unit.
The adoption of a more methodical and less ad hoc approach to the business of scrutiny, with the introduction of indicative core tasks, which aim to ensure that all areas of government activity are subject to proper scrutiny by Parliament.
Improvements to accessibility and wider public involvement, including the introduction of a pilot webcasting scheme at www.parliamentlive.tv and redesigned web pages.
Further details of these and other reforms which have strengthened the role of select committees can be found in the Liaison Committee's Annual Report for 2002 (HC558).
Public meetings of select committees increased by 9% in the last quarter of 2002, compared to the same period in 2001, which was itself a 31% increase on 2000.