Oral evidence: Sittings of the House and the Parliamentary Calendar

09 September 2011

The Procedure Committee will hold its third oral evidence session in connection with its inquiry into Sittings of the House and the Parliamentary Calendar on Wednesday 14 September 2011 in Committee Room 20, Upper Committee Corridor.

The witnesses are:


Peter Ainsworth, former MP Tony Baldry MP

Dame Anne Begg MP

Natascha Engel MP

Rt Hon Joan Ruddock MP


Jonathan Edwards MP

Mary MacLeod MP

Pete Wishart MP

An uncorrected transcript of the evidence session will appear on the Committee’s website within about a week of the date of the session.

Background to the inquiry: On 7 March 2011 the Committee launched its inquiry into Sittings of the House and the Parliamentary Calendar. The Committee intends to undertake a radical review of the role of Members of Parliament and the House of Commons and the optimum arrangements for the hours and sitting patterns of the House for fulfilling these roles most effectively.

The Committee invited evidence on:

• How the role of an MP has changed in recent years

• What the role of an MP should be and how this is reflected in time spent at Westminster and in the constituency

• What are the defects and the strengths of the current patterns

• What are the constraints on reform of the sitting patterns

• What pattern of sittings over the course of a month or the year would best enable MPs to perform their role

• What pattern of timings for sittings on days spent in Westminster would be most effective

• How should the way business is conducted in the Commons be altered to accommodate any new pattern of sitting hours, days or weeks

• What changes should be made to the process for considering Private Member’s bills in particular (the only business currently considered on Fridays)

• Should greater use be made of Westminster Hall

• How can select and public bill committee meetings be accommodated within any new arrangement

• What other factors should be considered in proposing changes to sitting hours (eg impact on staff of the House and Members staff, services to Members, cost, work of Government departments, public access to debates, the media)

The corrected transcript of the Committee’s first evidence session in this inquiry with Dr Ruth Fox, Director, Parliament and Government Programme, Hansard Society and Professor Sarah Childs, Professor of Politics and Gender, University of Bristol, is available on the Committee’s website:

The uncorrected transcript of the Committe’s second evidence session in this inquiry with current and former Members of Parliament, is also available on the Committee’s website:

Guidance for those wishing to attend select committee meetings held in public can be found at:


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