Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Annex 1

  I support all of the following:

  1.  As mentioned in your report.

    —  Speakers to be more forceful in resisting calling votes when the result is clear.

    —  I support moves to speed up voting, like electronic voting. I do not accept the need to always go to the lobbies—indeed if Ministers' time were freed up from going to the lobbies they could allocate time for constituency MPs to see them in their offices. They would then be in a position to be better briefed and more easily pass messages on for action, which would please many constituency MPs. Of course this would help opposition MPs and this does seem to be a fairer way of proceeding.

    —  Routine carry over of bills which are not finished.

    —  More pre-legislative scrutiny by committees (preferably not be the select committees).

    —  The publishing of Speakers Lists in a similar way to the House of Lords.

    —  Changed hours for the House of Commons.

    —  A fixed Parliamentary calendar, not sitting in July (to help Scottish MPs spend more time with their children) but sitting in September instead.

    —  Moving Private Members business from Fridays to other days. (I think this is included in your report).

  2.  Other things not in your report but which I hope you will consider.

    —  Setting up a standard procedure that civil servants can meet with all members of any Standing Committee to clarify any proposed legislation.

    —  I would support those members who are saying it is unfair that Speakers are called from the Government and then the opposition. It would be fairer if there in turn could be some adjustment to this so that each member had a more equal chance to be called.

    —  I do not support always having the Chair of the Select Committee being the first person to be called on any particular topic.

    —  In terms of Private Members Bills, instead of Private Members Bills being picked out of a hat and chosen by individual members I would support a decision that say five Private Members Bills could be pursued in any year and then members themselves should be able to vote on what Bills should be put forward in the House.

    —  I also believe people should be allowed to work in the Chamber—most of us are used to doing more than one thing at a time so it is perfectly possible to concentrate on the debate and do some work.

    —  It is crazy that people are allowed to do unhealthy things like smoke in the tea room and in the lobbies and yet are not allowed to do healthy things like look after their children and bring their children into these places.

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