COMMONS

Make smarter use of Parliament's final year

07 May 2014

Political and Constitutional Reform Committee calls on Government, Parliament and all the political parties to use the remaining time before the end of the first ever fixed-term parliament to fully and properly plan ahead of the 2015 election and the next Parliament.

Chair's comments

"The year ahead of the next general election presents a wonderful opportunity for Parliament, Parties and politicians to demonstrate a better side to the public including exploring real policy choices and holding serious debate. We should be bold enough to use this unique period not just as a conventional legislative year but with imagination and creativity."

In a report published, Wedensday 7 May, the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee calls on Government, Parliament and all the political parties to use the remaining time before the end of the first ever fixed-term parliament to fully and properly plan ahead of the 2015 election and the next Parliament.

Key points in the report include:

  • That this final year should be used by the Government, Parliament and political parties to consider some of the long-term issues that will need to be addressed in the next Parliament.
  • That arrangements for pre-election contacts between the Civil Service and Opposition should be formalised so they begin automatically in the final year of a Parliament.
  • That parties should work to develop a consensus on how party policy could be costed ahead of future general elections, to improve both policy formation and debate ahead of a general election.

Graham Allen, Chair of the Committee, said

"The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 has fixed the date of the next general election for 7 May 2015.
“With the benefit of this certainty, the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee is calling for a series of changes—including a programme of debate on key long-term issues, formalisation of pre-election contacts between the Civil Service and Oppositon, and consideration of how party policy should be costed ahead of the general election—to enhance the quality of debate, policy formation, and crucially, the information that is provided to the public to inform their electoral decision, in the run up to May 2015.

If the Government, parliamentarians and political parties are willing to engage with the positive recommendations we have proposed, the year ahead of the next general election should be a substantial improvement on what has preceded previous general elections."

The Committee will be writing to party leaders urging them to respond to the positive recommendations set out in its Report.

Further information

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