Formally Proposed Parliamentary Reform of the Week

A British committee set up in the wake of all that unpleasantness over MPs’ expenses, comes back with some suggestions.

“Achievable” but radical change to rebuild parliament’s independence from the executive, including a new body of elected backbenchers responsible for organising Commons business, is proposed today by a prestigious select committee set up by Gordon Brown.

The report also suggests that the public should be a given some direct say over what MPs debate, through devices such as e-petitions. Prime minister’s questions would be shifted from Wednesday to Thursday afternoon to liberate more time for backbenchers on Wednesday. It calls for Commons select committees to be streamlined and given more independence from the government so they are able to scrutinise Whitehall departments more thoroughly. Their chairmen ought to be elected by the whole house in a secret vote, rather than effectively agreed between the party whips, it says.