Embargo: Immediate Monday 12 May 2008
Contact: Owen Williams 020 7219 8659


The Joint Committee on the Draft Constitutional Renewal Bill today announced the scope of its inquiry and published a call for evidence as it begins its detailed analysis of the proposals in the Bill.

The Committee has been formed by both Houses of Parliament to examine and report on the Government's Draft Constitutional Renewal Bill which was published on 25 March 2008. The Government claim the Draft Bill will 'rebalance power between Parliament and the Government and give Parliament more ability to hold the Government to account'. The Committee will seek to establish how effective the draft bill will be in achieving that aim.

Some specific areas the Committee welcome evidence on include:

  • Protests in Parliament Square - How should the balance be struck between the right to protest in Parliament square and the right of Parliament to operate freely and without hindrance.
  • Attorney General - Is the Government approach to the reform of the Attorney General's role right? Will the Draft Bill increase the Attorney General's accountability to Parliament?
  • War Powers - Is the Government right to adopt a resolution route rather than a legislative route for decisions to send armed forces into conflict? Does the resolution set out in the White Paper give Parliament sufficient control over conflict decisions?
  • Civil Service - Does the draft bill increase the accountability of the civil service to Parliament? Are the provisions in the bill relating to special advisors appropriate?

Commenting Michael Jabez Foster MP (Hastings and Rye), Chairman of the Joint Committee, said:

"This Committee has been formed to look in detail at what will be a very significant Bill for the future relationship between Parliament and Government.

"The Draft Constitutional Renewal Bill has been heralded by the Government as a chance for Parliament to hold them to account more effectively and we will seek to find out how this can be achieved.

"We will look at the Bill in its entirety and are interested in receiving evidence from any interested parties who can give us their insights into how the proposals in the Draft Bill will affect Parliament's ability to scrutinise the Government."

The Closing date for the submission of written evidence is Thursday 12 June 2008.

Notes to Editors

1. The members of the Joint Committee on the Draft Constitutional Renewal Bill are:

Lords Members

Commons Members

Lord Armstrong of Ilminster

Mr Alistair Carmichael MP

Lord Campbell of Alloway

Christopher Chope MP

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie

Michael Jabez Foster MP (Chairman)

Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen

Mark Lazarowicz MP

Lord Hart of Chilton

Martin Linton MP

Lord Maclennan of Rogart

Ian Lucas MP

Lord Morgan

Fiona Mactaggart MP

Lord Norton of Louth

Mr Virendra Sharma MP

Lord Plant of Highfield

Emily Thornberry MP

Lord Tyler

Mr Andrew Tyrie MP

Lord Williamson of Horton

Sir George Young MP

At the Committee first meeting on 7 May they elected Michael Jabez Foster MP as their Chairman.

2. The call for evidence and other details of the Committee can be found at their webpage at:

3. The draft bill was presented to Parliament as Command Paper 7342. It can be found here: