Friday, 13 July 2012
How do MPs consult with constituents?
I am pleased to report that David Morris has replied to my question about the reform of the House of Lords. He agrees with me that reform is needed and has voted to debate the bill in the Autumn. The trouble is that I still have no idea what sort of reform he wants.
He told me that 'it is a matter of protocol that we do not comment on individual parliamentary votes until after the votes have taken place in the House of Commons', but I want to know his general views. How do MPs consult with constituents? Why don't they discuss bills in a general form? I am still not sure if my MP wants a wholly elected second chamber or 80% or wishes to make only minor adjustments. The problem is that if he wants reform then he has to vote for it otherwise he keeps the status quo. He may like his particular brand of reform so much that he does nothing by default.
I am also not convinced of the merit of a protocol that forbids comment. I did look for his name among the 70 Tory signatories who would vote against the Government and it wasn't on the letter. Surely there is a better means of communication than this, and what happened to the protocol for these 70 MPs? I can accept that some MPs may not want to comment on some issues prior to a vote, e.g. in case they change their mind between comment and vote. They don't want to be seen as people who make u-turns (see blog 25th June).
We have far too many secrets which are absolutely not necessary. Nobody would be hurt by knowing some of the thoughts of their MP on matters such as House of Lords reform, and it would be useful to know the grounds for any decision so that counter-arguments may be put forward.
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