The Speaker and Lord Speaker have announced the creation of a bicameral working group to consider the current operation and funding of All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs).
The Speakers' Working Group will be chaired by the Rt Hon Jack Straw MP and will consist of Members of both Houses. Among the areas to be looked at will be; implications of the growing number of All Party Groups; the extent to which there is the risk of confusion with formally constituted Select Committees of both Houses; whether APPGs should be required to publish minutes and accounts; and the funding of APPG activities.
In a joint statement the Speaker and Lord Speaker said:
"APPGs have grown substantially in recent years and provide Parliamentary-related opportunities which are valued by many Members of both Houses. We want to ensure that these arrangements are framed in a way that ensures APPGs are appropriately managed and supported."
The working group is likely to seek the opinion of Members from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords and others. However, it is not intended that it should conduct an exhaustive inquiry but produce some pathfinder recommendations on key issues, which may be taken up by a more detailed select committee inquiry. It is expected to report to the Speakers in the Spring.
Membership of the Speakers' working group is Rt Hon Jack Straw MP (Chair), Rt Hon Kevin Barron MP, Eleanor Laing MP, Rt Hon Simon Hughes MP, Rt Hon Baroness Shephard of Northwold, Lord Lipsey and Lord Clement-Jones.
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