Mark Tami MP has welcomed Leader of the House of Commons, Robin Cook’s proposals for a more modern and relevant Parliament. The proposals set out a programme of reform for a Parliament of the 21st Century.

The Alyn & Deeside MP commented, “Pubic confidence in our democracy depends on whether the public respects Parliament as relevant to their lives and believes the scrutiny of Government is effective. There has been much debate into the recent low turnout in elections and many people that do not vote cite that Parliament is not relevant to their life or can not see beyond the archaic jargon and practices how it is actually working for them.”

The proposals include a cut in the period of notice time for Oral Questions to be sharply reduced so that question time is more topical and that there should be more debates and shorter speeches rather than fewer debates and longer speeches. The modern world beyond parliament prizes brevity and informality and as the House that represents the people, the Commons needs to recognize and reflect this.

There are also recommendations for September sittings of the Commons and for 11:30 starts and 7pm finishes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, enabling the sittings to be more in tune with everyday life and the ever developing media.

Mr Tami added, “The proposals do not reduce the number of hours which Parliament will sit. The typical MP will continue to put in more than sixty hours each week on Parliamentary and constituency business.

The British Parliament sits for much longer than any of our counterparts in the major European or Commonwealth States. This will continue to be the case of under our proposals for reform. However, the accountability of MPs to a small defined constituency is the unique strength of the British House of Commons and the new proposals – including an additional constituency week at either Easter or Whit – will enable MPs to better fulfill their commitments to constituency work.”

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