Holding Government to Account

Posted on 28 July 2014 (Permalink)

Parliament is a democratic institution directly elected by the British electorate, it is not the plaything of party leaders or the media.


It is weak compared to the massively overcentralised and powerful government.

It's scrutiny of government needs to be strengthened not by-passed further and all parties should be putting forward a serious set of reforms to this broken unbalanced relationship.The last Parliament ended with the then Government refusing to allow parliament to elect in a secret ballot it's Select Committee Chairs or for MPs to elect in a secret ballot their own representatives to Select Committees.This Parliament ends with the Government refusing to honour it's election promise that Parliament should have some say over its own agenda through a House Business committee.All parties with claims to being radical or even reforming should now be setting out how Parliament should be a strong independent partner in power not fearfully containing and controlling its potential.Party leaderships and the media -neither directly elected by the voters-seem desperate not to lose their monopoly on politics by involving directly elected institutions nationally or locally as partners.These are the big political issues that need consistent, courageous political leadership in our threatened democracy.It's not about who is the prettiest or has the quickest fix but who has the vision and programme for the future of our democracy.

If any party were to use Parliament as a public relations backdrop it would further diminish Parliament's standing when reforms to make it more -not less-independent of government is what is required.

Those who wish to further by-pass a Parliament directly elected by the people,should themselves stand for direct election so at least we can have an honest Presidency not an unelected one.

A determined strategy for long  term renewal of our democracy is required not ill thought out, clever wheezes.This agenda is big enough for any serious politician and could include strengthening our democratically elected Commons, rebuilding the grass roots of our political parties, applying the elective principle to the Prime Ministership  and the Second Chamber, developing the political gene pool of local government, devolving real power in England, engaging in the debate on the need for a Written Settlement -new Magna Carta.With many voters feeling our politics is not fit for purpose the electorate deserves leadership and thinking which matches up to the scale of the problem.

I will be writing to the Speaker as Chair of the relevant Select Committee to ask that a proper consultation with MP's and public takes place so that democrats of all parties can  bring forward a serious plan to strengthen not weaken our Parliament.

Graham Allen MP. Chair of the Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee.

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