Liaison Committee urges action on Wright Committee reforms

27 January 2010

In a report published today, the Commons Liaison Committee urges the House of Commons to "act courageously" to make the Reform Committee’s proposals a reality in the new Parliament, including its provision for a review after two years

The Committee's report endorses the proposals relating to the composition and election of select committees and their Chairs and the appointment of the principal committees within six weeks of the opening of a new Parliament.

It also supports the proposal to reduce the average size of select committees, some of which have been enlarged to 14 without consultation, as enlargement "has tended to weaken the internal cohesion of committees and has added to the difficulty of finding Members to serve on them".

The Committee also particularly supports the exclusion of Ministers, opposition frontbenchers (except possibly for the smaller parties) and Parliamentary Private Secretaries – those on the "payroll vote" - from eligibility for membership of select committees. The proposal to rationalise the number of committees is also supported.

The Committee endorses the proposals for "House time" controlled by a backbench business committee as "a major opportunity to change the balance of power between Parliament and the Executive". It sees the Reform Committee's proposals as "allowing select committees greater influence over and access to the agenda of the House".

Chairman of the Committee, Alan Williams MP, said:

"Many of the Reform Committee’s recommendations are four-square with recommendations the Liaison Committee has made in the past, but some will not command universal and unqualified support. Doubts however cannot be used as an excuse for inaction."

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