Progressive groups want faster progress on parliamentary reform

Progressive groups have reacted with dismay at the Government's tactics over parliamentary reform. Harriet Harman has said that reform must be consensual.

Progressive groups have reacted with dismay at the Government’s tactics over the Wright committee recommendations on parliamentary reform.

The Guardian editorial this morning argued that, “Harriet Harman offered a bizarre excuse for the sidelining of Tony Wright’s worthwhile plans for improving Commons procedure.” But a source close to Harman insisted that consensus had to be reached and told Left Foot Forward, “this is a matter for the House. We have to give Parliament its say.” Harriet Harman said in the Commons yesterday that, “The Government’s preference for reaching decisions on these reforms is that we proceed on the basis of consensus.”

Sunder Katwala, General Secretary of the Fabian Society told Left Foot Forward:

“The election of Select Committee chairs by the House is both substantively and symbolically essential to the idea of a stronger Parliament better able to hold the Executive to account.

“The idea of lack of consensus (while no doubt it may have some partial foundation) risks being a bit convenient for the Whips office in particular”

Gavin Hayes, General Secretary of Compass said:

“The public don’t just demand the Prime Minister or Government put out nice rheotric on cleaning up Westminster, they want concrete action. The Government should be doing all that it can to get this passed before the end of this session. They should take a much tougher line and impose a 3-line whip – as must the Tories and Lib Dems.

“That said, the whole Westminster way of doing politics is bankrupt and the real reform we need is electoral reform. It is absolutely critical that Gordon Brown keeps his commitment on electoral reform.”

Nick Brown has been accused recently of derailing electoral reform.

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