Thursday, 14 May 2009

MPs and Lords Proposals

I have several proposals to reform Parliament and make it fit for the purpose of holding the Government to account:

1 If MPs are moaning there isn't enough work for them to do then the number of MPs must be reduced to say 400 as a reasonable first step. There only needs to be a maximum of 100 members of the House of Lords. Lords and Ladies would only be allowed to sit for a maximum of ten years before retiring or being renominated. And why not elect the Upper House on a two members per county PR basis?

2 MPs should be given written job descriptions with agreed performance targets. Their performance should be independently assessed annually and failing MPs should be given a year to improve. Two failures in a row would be published.

3 MPs should be subject to a call back by-election if 10% of their constituents sign a petition.

4 MPs' salaries should be pegged to the Senior Civil Service Pay Band 1. Employment terms and conditions should be as per the Senior Civil Service, ie fixed 5 year renewable contracts. If MPs do their jobs properly they are easily worth the top of the pay band.

5 MPs must demonstrate in-depth understanding of the constitution and parliamentary system. They should undertake a minimum of two months' shadowing or internship in the public and private sector each year. Members of Departmental Select Committees (DSC) must have practical experience of the areas and issues covered by the committees. Given this expertise, DSCs will take on the task of confirming candidates for ministerial posts. The will become more like US congressional committees.

6 MPs must rediscover the sublime joy of being awkward bastards for whom every penny must be accounted for as being well spent and all alternative courses of action examined.

7 The Speaker must rediscover her historic role of upholding the independence of MPs against the executive and setting the tone for the House of Commons. You noticed I said "her" : I propose that Kate Hoey is made the Speaker as soon as possible.

8 Voting at elections should be made compulsory. A box should be added to each voting slip for "None of the above are satisfactory". Postal and proxy votes should only be available for certified medical conditions and holidays.


James Higham said...

8 - didn't work in Australia.

Gallimaufry said...

James: spent the time on the beach with a barbie and a few tubes instead? ;)