Committee on Reform of House of Commons holds evidence session

10 February 2010

The Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons is to hear evidence from the Leader of the House Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP, the Shadow Leader of the House Rt Hon George Young MP and the Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House David Heath MP on progress made on its report, 'Rebuilding the House'. Watch live from 11am

The Committee was formed in July 2009 to look into reform of the House of Commons, following concerns raised about its standing and independence in the wake of the expenses crisis, and concluded that urgent change is needed to make the House a more vital institution, more responsive to the public and more independent of Ministers in deciding what it debates.

In 'Rebuilding the House', the House of Commons Reform Committee, chaired by Dr Tony Wright MP, called for:

  • the creation of a backbench Business Committee and protected backbench time
  • a boost to the standing and authority of select committees through direct election of Chairs and election of committee members within party groups
  • a strengthening of the public's ability to influence the work of the House

The report concluded:

"A flourishing representative democracy demands an effective and vital House of Commons, with strong government improved by strong accountability. This is also the best antidote to the political disengagement and anti-politics that characterises our age, and which is dangerous in its consequences."

The Committee recognised its recommendations can only be the start of the urgently needed process of rebuilding confidence.

Commenting on the report, Chair Dr Wright said:

"Out of the catastrophe of the expenses scandal, Parliament has an opportunity and obligation to show that it really matters. This will not be achieved by one report, but we can at least start a process that I hope the next Parliament will want to carry forward."

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