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.