New Inquiry: Sittings of the House and the Parliamentary Calendar

07 March 2011

The House of Commons Procedure Committee is today announcing terms of reference for its major new inquiry into the sitting 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 invites 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 Committee invites written submissions which should arrive no later than 4 April 2011.

E-mail submissions are preferred and should be in Word format (not PDF) and sent to Postal submissions should be sent to the Clerk, Procedure Committee, Journal Office, House of Commons, London  SW1A 0AA. Further information can be obtained from the Clerk at this address or by telephone on 0207 219 3318.

Committees make public much of the evidence they receive during inquiries. If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the Committee, please contact the Clerk on 0207 219 3318 to discuss this.

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