In a report by the House of Commons reform committee, called Rebuilding the House and published today, MPs conclude that urgent changes are needed to the Parliamentary system.
The report calls for the chairs of most select committees to be directly elected by secret ballot of the House and members of most select committees to be elected from within party groups by secret ballot.
At present Parties put forward names of MPs to the committee of selection and Party whips divide up the chairmanships. The report says this “is very far from transparent”.
The report suggests the power of select committees would be increased by limiting the number of MPs serving on each committee to 11 and by ending the practice of appointing Parliamentary private secretaries and front bench official Opposition spokesmen. It says there should be “clear consequences” for unreasonable absence from select committees.
Reform committee chairman Dr Tony Wright (pictured) says: “Out of the catastrophe of the expenses scandal, Parliament has an opportunity and obligation to show that it really matters. This will not be achieved by one report, but we can at least start a process that I hope the next Parliament will want to carry forward.”