Examination of Witnesses (Questions 218-219)
9 MAY 2007
Q218 Chairman: Malcolm and Douglas, you
are very welcome. Malcolm, I gather you would like to say something
to us by way of general introduction. Thank you very much, by
the way, for your paper and attachment.
Mr Jack: Thank you very much,
Chairman. There are just two points that I thought might be worth
making at the beginning, and I am sure they will cut across the
discussion we have anyway. One was really just to pick up on something
in the memorandum which I have sent to the Committee, and that
isI feel I do not really need to say this to a select committee
of the Housethat Members are all different and they prioritise
in different ways. That is why we said in our memorandum that
we did not really think it was our business to recommend how Members
spend their time. The evidence that the Committee has had over
the last five sessions, including evidence from Members of the
House of course, confirms that Members have different priorities
and approach things differently. I think one of your witnesses
used the phrase, "You have to learn to plough your own furrow".
That is just one general point that I would like to make at the
very beginning. The second point really is the business about
the totality of time. As the evidence has come to the Committee
there are suggestions for various changes and some of them I can
perfectly well understand, for example trying to make debates
more topical and that sort of thing, but I think what the Committee
will have to consider when it comes to its conclusions and recommendations
is whether there is any appetite to sit more either in a day or
over a session, ie longer days or more days during the session.
I think that is going to inform the sort of recommendations that
you can sensibly make. I do not say it excludes changes within
the existing time but I think it is quite a crucial factor, particularly
in things like injury time, because it will imply the House sitting
later on a particular day. It was just those two general points
I thought I would throw in the pot.
Q219 Chairman: Douglas, would you
like to say anything?
Mr Millar: No, thank you.