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


Memorandum from Mr Andrew Dismore MP (M12)

STRENGTHENING THE ROLE OF THE BACKBENCHER

  Firstly, the significant increase in workload for many Members in relation to constituency work inevitably means there is less time available to spend in the House. This is particularly so in the absence of adequate resources to support Members. I find myself doing work which really ought to be capable of being delegated to others, but unfortunately there is no one to delegate to, bearing in mind the huge workload my constituency produces.

  The other key problem is the lack of a speaking list for debates in Parliament. If one does not know whether or not one is going to get called, or when, it is a major time commitment to give up what may be half a day or longer to sit in the House waiting for one's turn to come up. I personally have been discouraged from participating in debates because I simply cannot afford to spend hours waiting for the chance to speak. I believe that speakers' lists would be a major advance in persuading people that they could participate, without having to waste large amounts of time that could be better spent elsewhere.

  There also ought to be much more discipline/restriction on the length of time front bench speakers take in debates, as this clearly squeezes the amount of time available for backbenchers, too.

December 2006





 
previous page contents next page

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

© Parliamentary copyright 2007
Prepared 20 June 2007