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Wednesday, January 08, 2020

The emasculation of Parliament?

The Guardian reports on claims by senior MPs that ministers and civil servants are not being properly scrutinised by parliament because of delays in setting up select committees.

They say that despite crucial Brexit policy passing through the Commons and the possibility of conflict in the Middle East, chairs of four committees have said they have not yet been given any indication by Boris Johnson’s government when they will be able to sit again.

Their concern is exacerbated by previous accusations that the prime minister and his close adviser Dominic Cummings have avoided appearances before MPs on these committees:

Since 2010, the members of most of the Commons committees are chosen by a system of internal party elections. But it is up to the leader of the house, Jacob Rees-Mogg, working with whips from both sides, to settle on a timetable for those elections.

Parliamentary sources have claimed that the government is delaying the process because of planned departmental mergers which may be postponed.

Senior MPs said they have not yet received any indication that the government will set elections to the committees by next month, as was hoped.

Meg Hillier, the chair of the powerful public accounts committee which scrutinises government spending, said the government’s big majority meant scrutiny was vital.

“We are seeing big promises on policy and projects and need to challenge how realistic they are,” she said. “On the most optimistic plan, committees will not have met for four months on the current timetable. We need to speed up the process.

“Possible changes to government departments should not be an excuse for delay,” she said.

It is these committees that do all the real work in Westminster in holding government to account. Does taking back control mean emasculating Parliament as well? I think we should be told.
Taking back control could mean control by those that Johnson /Cummings wish to be in charge.That could be cronies,yes men, NOT those who can hold extravance in projects (remember the London bridge fiasco).Power can corrupt leading to disaster..
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