Letter from Mr Lindsay Hoyle MP to the
Clerk of the Committee
I would be grateful if my following comments
on modernisation of the House of Commons could be taken into account.
I fully support efforts to make debates and
Question Times more relevant to issues of the day. The two week
period of notice for tabling questions is not necessary and would
allow members to raise more relevant points when Government Ministers
come to the House.
I also believe that it is nonsense where debates
are prolonged to 10 pm event though no effective contributions
are taking place. A more flexible approach is required and if
Government business is completed early then perhaps more time
can be found for adjournment debates, Private Members Bills etc.
In relation to hours I do not support a move
to start business earlier in the day and finish earlier in the
evening. As an MP representing a North West seat I prefer coming
to London and getting business completed on Monday, Tuesday and
Wednesday, and hopefully being able to return on Thursday afternoons
in order to spend all day Friday in my constituency.
If the House was to sit earlier this would create
a number of problems. Firstly the line of route would be less
accessible particularly for people from across the country who
can only get to the House by 11 am. Also, members sit on Committees
and have to schedule meetings for the morning so they are free
to attend the Chamber on the afternoon. If the House sat in the
morning then an already tight schedule would become impossible.
It would not be practical to have meetings and Committees late
in the evening.
Therefore, in terms of hours, I believe that
there is little room to alter the hours of the House in order
to make it more effective.
In order to make the House more effective I
do think that a Speaker's list of members due to speak in a debate
(published in advance) would be far more constructive. The system
works well in the House of Lords and members know whether they
are going to speak and roughly when. This saves members sitting
in the Chamber for hours on end waiting to speak and then failing
to be called.
I welcome the idea of giving select committees
a scrutiny role and any measures which improve legislative scrutiny
has to be welcomed. The select committees do play an important
role but if they were turned into scrutiny committees I am sure
a more positive contribution could be made by the committees and
18 February 2002