At the start of the 21st century, MPs faced increasing demands on their time and skills, both at Westminster and in the constituency, and higher public and regulatory expectations and levels of scrutiny. In this 2000 report, expert contributors reviewed the practicalities of an MP's life and made proposals for reform.
In his introduction to the report, Greg Power, the then-Director of the Hansard Society's Parliament and Government Programme, said:
"The workload of the MP is greater at the beginning of the 21st century than at any time in the hisotry of the House of Commons. Public expectations of our elected representatives have also grown. Yet this increased pressure has not been matched by concomitant improvements to facilities, hours or procedures. In order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of Parliament, and its Members, tangible reform is required. The alternative is a growing disparity between expectation and reality, which can only lead to a further erosion of support for Parliament."
In this innovative report, expert contributors reviewed the practicalities of an MP's life - including working and sitting hours, procedures, training, staffing and stress - and put forward practical reform proposals.
Reinventing the member of Parliament: A rational approach to the MP's work Anne Campbell MP
Learning to be a Member of Parliament: The induction process Michael Rush and Philip Giddings
Party politics vs. people politics: Balancing Westminster and constituency Greg Power
Stress and the Politician Dr Ashley Weinberg
Caught in the middle: Training MPs in dispute resolution Bernadette Coleman, Stephen Coleman, Ernesto Spinelli and Freddie Strasser
*NB: The quality of the electronic version of this report, available to download top right, is poor**