Parliamentary Committees

As you may know, the house voted in favour of this motion; however, I wanted to respond to you and explain the changes.

The crux of the motion that passed yesterday is found in Section B, which states:

Where a committee has an odd number of members the Government shall have a majority, and where a committee has an even number of members the number of Government and opposition members shall be equal”.

Fundamentally, the Government established a valid working majority following the recent General Election. It is right that now, the Government and the opposition fulfil their assigned roles within the House of Commons - the former to pass its programme of business, the latter to scrutinise and amend it.

For this to take place, I think it is proper that the Government has either parity or ascendancy in the working groups that conduct parliamentary business. Given that the Conservative Party has 55 more seats than Labour, this arrangement will ensure that Select Committees reflect the composition of the House itself, whilst maintaining a balance between Government and opposition.

Additionally, there is precedent for the motion that was passed yesterday; in 1976 the Labour Party, through the Harrison Motion allowed a Labour Government to have a majority on the Committee of Selection.

I agree on the importance of Parliamentary scrutiny; it should be at the centre of every stage of the Parliamentary process.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.