Premium Essay

) Apart from Referendums, Explain Three Ways in Which Democracy in the Uk Could Be Improved.

In: Other Topics

Submitted By samaal
Words 443
Pages 2
• Quality: Reduce the number of select committees

MPs who are part of the government, part of the opposition front bench, or who are whips, are not permitted (for obvious reasons) to sit on select committees. This means that there is roughly one select committee place per eligible MP. Consequently, serving on a select committee is a routine rather than a hard-fought honor, and attendance on committees is often low.

If the number of select committees were reduced, this would reduce the number of places and increase the competition for places. The departmental link would have to be broken, but broader remits with competent and fully attended committees would more than make up the difference. Places on committees would once again be competitive and the best people would sit on them.
• Power: The power to call for real evidence
Select committees have the power to call people to appear as witnesses and for papers and records to be sent to the committee for scrutiny (rather like a court of law). There are two exceptions. One is the royal family, which is not relevant here. The second, which is extremely relevant, considering the role of select committees to scrutinise government, is government.
It seems incredible that select committees do not have the power to call ministers to appear before them, and that they do not have the power to demand to see government papers. I have observed select committees forced to resort to the Freedom of Information Act to get hold of government papers, and still be refused them. This is constitutional nonsense and should be corrected by parliament at the earliest opportunity.
• Tools: Evidence checks
Most inquiries take the format of a committee deciding on a topic, putting out a call for evidence, cross-examining some witnesses – the last of whom are from government – and then writing a report with a bunch of recommendations.…...

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