Yesterday afternoon I attended the latest hearing in the Procedure Committee’s Inquiry into the process by which backbench MP’s can bring forward proposals to change the law. The main reason for concern is that some M.P.’s have seen their Bill fail to progress even when it has had a debate because of lack of time. The real reason is that no Bill makes progress unless it has the consent of a majority of MP’s and as the Government by definition has nominal control it does not make progress unless the government agree it should. One exception is where the Bill relates to a matter of conscience where M.P’s have a free vote.
Yesterday, our witnesses were Jacob Rees-Mogg MP and Thomas Docherty. Thomas was a Labour member of the Committee in the last Parliament and took a lot of interest in these matters. He lost his seat to the SNP and is now seeking a seat in the Scottish Parliament. It was very useful to hear their evidence and whilst they did not agree on everything they did agree that making new laws should not be easy. What is needed is transparency so people can understand why a Bill is not making progress.