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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Choosing the next Speaker of the House of Commons

Freedom Central has already highlighted the excellent post by Paul Flynn, giving the inside story on the candidates for Speaker, but what are the qualities that we, the voters, should expect of the person who assumes this role later this month.

The MySociety website puts forward a set of three Principles that they believe are important and which they want all candidates for Speaker to endorse, before the election takes place. These are:

1. Voters have the right to know in detail about the money that is spent to support MPs and run Parliament, and in similar detail how the decisions to spend that money are settled upon.

2. Bills being considered must be published online in a much better way than they are now, as the Free Our Bills campaign has been suggesting for some time.

3. The Internet is not a threat to a renewal in our democracy, it is one of its best hopes. The House of Commons should appoint a senior officer with direct working experience of the power of the Internet who reports directly to the Speaker, and who will help Parliament adapt to a new era of transparency and effectiveness.

I agree with all of these as they will open up the process of government and make it more transparent and accountable. I would like to add a few of my own though including embracing the principle of a right to know in respect of any requests for information and the wholescale reform of the way that the Commons works so as to exclude the ability of MPs to have second jobs and to improve attendance at Committees.

Feel free to add more in the comments.
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