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


Letter from the Rt Hon Alan Howarth CBE MP to the Chairman of the Committee

  I wonder if I might offer a small suggestion, almost as a footnote to the important reforms in the affairs of the House of Commons which you are proposing. I think you are suggesting that the main business of the House might conclude on Wednesdays at 7 pm, with votes to follow, just as it already does on Thursdays. It occurs to me, and I think there are colleagues who share this view, that it would be helpful if the House of Commons could start and finish its debates half an hour or even an hour earlier, ending at 6.30 pm or 6 pm rather than 7 pm. This would have two advantages that would be helpful to many colleagues. It would make it possible for colleagues to go to a concert or theatre, or even an evening class, confident that they would arrive at the beginning of proceedings. As these events usually start at 7.30 pm it is impossible for us to book tickets in advance with any confidence that we shall be able to get there for the beginning as things stand. The further advantage would be an earlier start for colleagues who have to travel back to their constituencies either on a Thursday or a Wednesday.

  There may be significant reasons why it would be difficult to start and finish on a Wednesday and Thursday an hour or half an hour earlier, but I don't know what they are, and I hope you will feel that this small adjustment could be accommodated and would be worthwhile.

10 January 2002

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 5 September 2002