Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from John Mann MP

  I wish to make comment on a number of specific paragraphs.

  12.  As well as the list of potential speakers, the archaic concept of seniority should go. The Committee and Parliament needs to ask:

  "Why are my constituents less important now than they were under the last year of my predecessor (Joe Ashton MP 1968-2001)?"

  27 and 28.  I am the first MP in 125 years to live in my Constituency. The Committee and Parliament needs to ask itself:

  "Are any changes made likely to discriminate in favour of those MPs who live with their families in London and against those whose families live in the Constituency."

  A lot of nonsense has been talked by London based MPs about seeing their children more often. Any change that makes it harder for me to see my children would be extremely retrograde. The Committee and Parliament needs to ask itself:

  "Are any changes likely to encourage more MPs to have their family home in London and is this in the best interest of UK democracy?"

  30.  This paragraph shows the pro London bias at its worst. The committee and Parliament needs to ask itself:

  "How will these changes contribute to the sharing of family responsibilities for MPs whose children live outside London?"

  40.  Currently I am able to guarantee certain times when I can be solely responsible for children, including September. This is invaluable. Any loss of September should be matched by specific weeks related throughout the year to school holidays. To overcome the obscure nature of local authority holiday timings:

  a half term of Thursday to Tuesday inclusive would be highly advantageous.

  46 and 47.  I have worked professionally with electronic voting systems and I do not see how pararaph 47 is not contradictory. Multiple divisions though any system of electronic voting would be unworkable, because of the complexity of consequential voting. This could only work in a Chamber where Parliamentarians had electronic voting pads at their desk. Electronic voting and the lobby system are alternatives.

  Electronic scanning would not speed up divisions, as the queue to scan would remain as now and the forgetful MP would be disenfranchised or would need a cumbersome back-up system.

  The only existing electronic systems that would work would be desk based in the Chamber and MPs offices, thus removing the lobby principle.

  Finally, in order to ensure that the changes are family friendly, I propose that the Committee survey MPs to ascertain:

  "How many MPs have school age children living in their Constituency and outside London commuter belt?"

15 January 2002

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