Making Parliament Work Better
- Article 50
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- House of Lords
- Housing and Planning Bill
- How it Works – House of Lords
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- Refugee Crisis in Syria
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- The Lords
- Lord Greaves Speech on New Rules for Outdoor Recreation
- LORD TONY GREAVES CALLS ON THE GOVERNMENT TO PREPARE FOR TAKE OVER OF LANCASHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL ADMINISTRATION
- Government’s Housing Proposals are “Total Madness” | Lord Greaves in House of Lords Debate
- Lord Tony Greaves Speech for ALDC/LDH Fringe Meeting in Bournemouth
- Colne to Skipton Railway Line – Lord Greaves calls on Government to Take Action
- Events, Dear Boy, Events (2)
- Events, Dear Boy, Events (1)
- Taking Back Control | Lord Tony Greaves
- Government Defeat in House of Lords on Brexit Bill | Liberal Lord Tony Greaves
- Brexit Bill Debated in House of Lords as Theresa May Looks on
It gets more likely by the day that the election will result in a minority government which, as a result of the procedural and political implications of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, may last a full term.
If long-term minority government is to work we need changes to the way the Commons and Lords work. We need a change in culture away from the majoritarian idea that governments propose new laws, then get them passed by controlling the agenda and the votes in Parliament. A rather different collaborative and arguably more democratic culture will be needed in which the government proposes (and argues its case) but Parliament disposes.
Lots of useful changes could be made. Beefed up pre-legislative scrutiny of new laws should become the norm. As should post-legislative scrutiny of all new Acts, possibly by setting up appropriate select committees a year after Royal Assent with a remit to propose changes where needed – for instance on “workability” issues. There should be open access to the teams of civil servants and Ministers in charge of bills by all parties in both Houses.
The ping-pong arrangements between the Commons and Lords should be made more sensible by setting up negotiating committees similar to those between the European Parliament and Council of Ministers. There could be more Private Members’ Bills. Scrutiny of secondary legislation should be strengthened. Statutory Instruments (orders and regulations) cover ever more important matters and ways should be found to allow amendment of the more significant ones as they go through Parliament. The work of select committees in both Houses should be modernised and strengthened in particular on oversight of the administrative work of departments. The duties of the backbench Business Committee in the Commons should be extended to include all business.
There must be many other ways to make the work of Parliament more open and democratic. The advent of a minority government would seem a good time to consider them. Let us think about these matters now before the post-election negotiations start.