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Christopher Chope (left) and Philip Davies (right) ‘talked out’ a private member’s bill to end ‘revenge’ evictions by private landlords.

Perhaps you think it’s okay that private members’ bills – attempts at making laws that are not part of a government’s programme – can be stopped by the likes of Philip Davies and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

These buffoons gleefully block useful legislation such as the bid to give free hospital parking to carers (while Mr Davies charged his own parking to the taxpayer, please note) and the proposal to force landlords to ensure their properties are fit for human habitation (Mr Davies himself is a landlord).

They happily hide behind a Commons rule that a “closure” motion, stopping a Bill from being talked out, can be called if its sponsor can muster 100 MPs to support it – and the legislation should not pass if it does not have the support of 100 MPs.

But this argument ignores the fact that private members’ bills are always debated on Fridays, when most MPs are returning to their constituencies to carry out the work they have to do there.

The solutions proposed by Mr Bercow are reasonable, and would enhance Parliament’s reputation by ensuring private members’ bills are of a sufficiently high quality and that they receive the same consideration in the Commons chamber as other legislation.

They could also mark the end of interference by MPs with their own interests at heart, rather than those of the public. One wonders what Philip Davies would do with himself then.

The Commons Speaker, John Bercow, has suggested the system by which backbench MPs bring in legislation needs to be overhauled.

At present, private members’ bills receive limited debate on Fridays and they stand little chance of becoming law without government support.

It is common for MPs opposing such a bill to talk at length until it runs out of time.

Mr Bercow said this situation “has not enhanced the reputation of the House”.

The Speaker highlighted recommendations previously made by the Procedure Select Committee, including:

  • Moving private members’ bills from their traditional Friday sitting, when MPs often return to their constituencies
  • Introducing a “peer group review” with the aim of ensuring fewer, higher-quality bills
  • Enabling time limits on speeches in such debates.

Source: Speaker calls for rethink on private members’ bills – BBC News


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