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Conservatives propose giving more power to Parliament over its business and establishing public consultation on legislation

This morning has seen two speeches from frontbenchers covering reforming Parliament and th way legislation is scrutinised.

Firstly, the newly-appointed shadow Commons Leader, Sir George Young, explained how he wants power to be taken away from the Government and handed to Parliament as a whole over how its business is transacted. Among his proposals were:

  • Giving backbenchers more power over what and when they debate, instead of the Executive having sole control over the whole Commons agenda;
  • Abolishing routine programme motions and ending automatic ‘guillotining’ of all Government bills;
  • Enhancing Select Committees by providing unwhipped elections of the chairmen and by giving them time to launch key reports on the floor of the House;
  • Giving Parliament more power over its procedures by abolishing the Modernisation Select Committee, chaired by a member of the Cabinet, and folding its work into an invigorated Procedure Committee, chaired by a backbencher;
  • Allowing the Opposition to trade a number of its Opposition Days for statements on topical issues;
  • Winding up the regional select committees.   

Later, in a wide-ranging speech, William Hague announced a consultation on introducing a "Public Reading Stage" for legislation as part of the party's agenda for giving citizens more power in the post-bureaucratic age.

The proposal is that after a Bill's Second Reading, it would be put open to public consultation before going into committee stage, enabling MP an peers to take into consideration the views of the public.

Jonathan Isaby


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