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"Deeply disappointing" Government response to private Members' bills proposals

13 June 2016

The Procedure Committee has received a response from the Government to its Third Report of the 2015–16 Session, Private Members' bills.

Chair's comment:

Committee Chair, Mr Charles Walker MP, said:

"The Committee will wish to consider this response fully at an early opportunity, and I expect that we will wish to make a further report setting out our view on the future of the private Members' bill process. We will be seeking a substantive debate on our proposals and the Government response at the earliest opportunity.

In my view the Government response is deeply disappointing. It utterly fails to engage with the main message of the Procedure Committee's report on private Members' bills: namely that present procedures are misleading to the general public and are too easily gamed to prevent genuine legislative proposals from proceeding.

"The Government has...failed to offer any constructive proposals..."

Our report was well thought out and offered measured and proportionate solutions to issues which cause enormous reputational damage to the House and to the legislative process. The Government has itself consistently failed to offer any constructive proposals to address a process which is manifestly failing.

The purpose of private Members' bills is to serve the interest of the backbench Member of Parliament, not the Government Whips' Office.

I now think that the most likely outcome is for the House to move consideration of backbench legislation to Tuesday or Wednesday evenings – when business may be routinely whipped – or to abandon balloted private Members' bills altogether and dispense with the pretence that this House offers backbenchers any serious legislative opportunities."

Further information

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