Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons Written Evidence


Memorandum from Mr Dai Davies MP (M15)

STRENGTHENING THE ROLE OF THE BACKBENCHER

  Having been elected to Parliament at a by-election in June 2006, and not being a member of a political party the lack of a formal structured induction course I found it very difficult to integrate fully into the workings of the House of Commons. The respective departments such as the Speaker's Office, Serjeant at Arms, Finance etc give as much time as they can but I feel that there should be a dedicated resource and time set aside from the time before signing in to walk the newly elected Member through the process and responsibility of Parliament.

  The information packs available are very comprehensive but I feel personal contact is essential in the initial few weeks. Possibly consider the introduction of a mentoring scheme.

  The process of the House can be extremely daunting for the newly elected MP. Some of the procedures in the Chamber in terms of how Members are expected to address each other I believe need to be reviewed especially if we are to encourage new and young people to take an interest in politics.

  There should be greater encouragement and opportunity for all Members to be part of a select committee. There should be a greater role for the All Party Parliamentary Groups which would allow new Members to get involved in debate in a more informal atmosphere.

  The Chamber is a very imposing environment and a relaxation of traditional formal address would help to speed up the process of debate.

  The role of the Speaker should be maintained but perhaps a review of chairing debate should be carried out in terms of the types of contributions made by Members so that the repeating of a point over and over again could be curtailed thus also speeding up the process.

December 2006





 
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