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


Letter from Mr David Taylor MP to the Chairman of the Committee


  I understand that the Modernisation Committee will be examining the issue of nominations to Select Committees in the autumn. This is clearly something about which the PLP feels strongly at the moment, and I am fully supportive of the importance that you have attached to it. I thought I would give you some of my own thoughts about how reforms could be made to the process.

  I feel that members should be elected to a Committee by their colleagues in their own party by way of an internal election. Clearly the proportionality principle should stay, and the Government should always enjoy a preponderance of members. In order, however, to uphold the independence of Select Committees, appointments should be, and seen to be, made independently from the Executive.

  I believe this could be achieved by allowing each member of the PLP one vote in a secret ballot for either themselves or for another declared colleague to be placed on a certain committee. Where seven places exist for Labour MPs on a committee those candidates who were elected in the top seven places would then be placed on that committee.

  This system would result in less allegations of the undue influence of the Government when creating the very bodies that are designed to hold the Executive itself to account. It would also certainly help to remove some of the cynicism and criticisms that currently surround elections and the political system.

  Recent events show that the PLP has an appetite for radical changes to some of the ways the government, the House of Commons and the PLP conducts its affairs.

16 August 2001

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