Magazine article Public Finance

Wright Reforms Receive Lukewarm Response

Magazine article Public Finance

Wright Reforms Receive Lukewarm Response

Article excerpt

A committee of MPs has recommended a set of measures to restore public faith in the political process by increasing die authority of Parliament.

But the report, by the reform of the House of Commons select committee, was given a lukewarm response by the government Experts have also been divided on whether it will lead to real improvements in accountability.

The 18-strong cross-party panel, led by public administration select committee chair Tony Wright, was set up in July by Prime Minister Gordon Brown following the scandal over MPs' expenses.

Its report, published on November 24, recommends reconfiguring select committees to make them more powerful and more independent of die executive and part)' whips.

Under the committee's plans, members and chairs would be directly elected by MPs, rather than being appointed by the prime minister.

There are also proposals to increase the role and relevance of backbenchers, including the equivalent of a day per week of House time to be spent on issues nominated by a backbench business committee.

Wright also called for the next Parliament to consider how tile process of legislation could be opened up to allow the public to have real influence over the content of draft laws, and for criteria to be drawn up for public petitions requiring debate in the House. …

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