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.
Table of contents
- 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**
Banner image: ‘The Father of the House of Commons joins the Yeoman Usher’, by UK Parliament
Enjoy reading this? Please consider sharing it
Coming on top of the controversial introduction of the concept of ‘retained EU law’ in the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018, the provisions for an implementation / transition period in the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement pose challenges for UK law that the promised Withdrawal Agreement Bill will need to address, including through amendments to the 2018 Act.
Data from the 2019 Audit of Political Engagement and Twitter show that, among people who use social media for politics, Labour is over-represented relative to Conservatives, and Remainers relative to Leavers – but, in the European elections run-up, content from the Brexit Party is shared more than content from the ‘Remain’ parties combined.
The long-delayed rebuilding of the Palace of Westminster has taken two large steps forward with the publication of key legislation and a public consultation on plans for the House of Commons’ temporary accommodation. However, concerns and confusion remain around the roles of both the government and the public in the R&R programme.
In our April 2019 submission to the House of Commons Liaison Committee inquiry into the select committee system, we made wide-ranging recommendations including a review of the select committee core tasks, and a restructuring of the system to provide for improved scrutiny of delegated legislation and legislative standards and to accommodate post-Brexit needs.
The Brexit ‘flextension’ has five implications for Parliament, some of which require action speedily now that parliamentarians have returned from the Easter recess.