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Study Notes

Commons Reform

AS, A-Level
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

Commons reform is the idea that the procedures and relevance of the House of Commons could be improved. The last major attempt to look into how this could be done was the Wright Committee (named after its Chair, Tony Wright).

This was a select committee of the UK Parliament that was established and reported in 2009, making a number of recommendations, which included:

  • A reduction in the number of committees and in the size of a standard departmental committee
  • That one backbench motion per month should be routinely scheduled for debate.
  • That the Chairs of departmental and similar select committees should be directly elected by a secret ballot of the house using the alternative vote election system
  • That members of departmental and similar committee should be elected from within party groups by secret ballot
  • That backbench business should be scheduled by the House rather than by Ministers
  • That the House should decide its sitting pattern for itself.
  • That an effective e-petitions system should be introduced, including the possibility that members of the public might be able to compel an issues to be debated in the House

The general theme of the recommendations were that the House should have more scope to choose and to schedule its own activities. The Wright Committee’s recommendations were brought forward in full by the incoming coalition Conservative and Liberal Democrat government in May 2010.

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