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


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 individual members.

18 February 2002

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