Procedure Committee

9 November 2007 No. 1

NEW INQUIRY: E-petitons

The House of Commons Procedure Committee has launched an inquiry into e-petitions. The inquiry follows up recommendations made in the Committee's Report into Public Petitions and Early Motions, published on 22 May as HC 513 and the Government Response, Cm 7193, published on 26 July.

The House of Commons has given its support in principle to a scheme with the following key elements:

€Members should be engaged with e-petitions as they are with written petitions;

€e-petitions should be open for the addition of e-signatures for a certain period before formal presentation;

€once presented they should have the same status as written petitions.

Announcing the inquiry, Committee Chairman Greg Knight said: 'This is an exciting and innovative process we are examining and the Committee will be considering in particular:

€The form in which the link between a petition and an MP should be retained;

€How the public should engage with the system;

€What changes to the House's rules in respect of petitions may be needed;

€What part e-petitions have to play in the House's wider objective to improve how it connects with the public;

€What will be the likely timing and resource implications of an e-petitioning system.

'The Committee will shortly be setting up an e-consultation to invite views on these issues. Alternatively written submissions are welcomed and should arrive no later than 30th November 2007. Subject to the progress of the inquiry, some respondents may be asked to provide oral evidence. Submissions should be in Word or rich text format and sent by e-mail to or by post 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 to discuss this. Committees are not able to investigate individual cases. Further information about the Procedure Committee, including the complete text of previous reports, can be found on the Committee's homepage.

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