Wide backing for radical reform of Parliamentary scrutiny function

So reports a news release from Liberal Democrat MP Evan Harris:

An amendment to the Government’s resolutions on reform of parliament following the report of the Wright Committee due to be debated on the 22nd of February, which calls for the establishment of a House Business Committee has attracted widespread support, including that of Sir George Young, its backers announced today.

The Select Committee on Reform of Parliament (the Wright Committee) was set up in July 2009 as a response to the expenses scandal to bring forward recommendations on how Parliament could be reformed to carry out its functions better. The Government announced that it agreed with many of the recommendations (including those on elections of select committee chairs and members) and tabled resolutions covering those areas it supported for decision after the half term recess. The Government has not yet agreed that there should be established a House Business Committee to decide the scheduling of all business before the House, including scrutiny of legislation, and to put an agenda before the House for decision.

The amendment approving the establishment of a House Business Committee in the name of Dr Tony Wright, the chair of the Committee, and 50 other senior backbenchers, has now been signed by Sir George Young, the shadow Leader of the House, as well as David Heath, the Liberal Democrat shadow Leader.

Dr Evan Harris MP, a member of the Wright Committee, who drafted the amendment on behalf of fellow Wright Committee members and Parliament First, said,

“Now this amendment has the support of both major opposition parties and the nationalists, as well as scores of backbench Labour MPs, it looks as if Harriet Harman, for the Government, will have to support it or be seen to be standing in the way of necessary reform, and also face the prospect of a defeat on 4th March when it is likely that this will be put to a vote”.

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