On Wednesday I popped in and out of the YBF Rally in the House of Commons (I couldn’t stay all day as I was at work). I tweeted about it, as usual, although there was very little Twitter interaction, which was a shame. I was lucky to hear IDS speak in a break from pushing the 2nd reading of the Welfare Reform Bill through the House. I’m excited about this legislation which I think is a really exciting opportunity to change the way our welfare system works. But more about that another time.
One of the other speakers I heard was Douglas Carswell MP. I’ve seen him blog before, although I’ve never heard him speak. I do admire MPs who speak their mind, although I spend endless amounts of time debating what the role of an MP, and to what extent they represent their party, their constituents, or themselves (again, more about this another time).
I tweeted about Mr Carswell’s comments on constitutional reform. In general, I think that there are some reforms that need to be made to the functioning of our system. I’ve had this belief for a long time, having studied British politics for the last 10 years. However, I disagree with some of the specifics of what he said. In particular, Mr Carswell mentioned strengthening Select Committees further, allowing them to approve departmental budgets, and choosing ministers; and replacing the Lords with a Chamber filled with people who represent their local area, such as Mayors or someone from the Council. However, I disagree with this. Whilst I believe that the role of Select Committees should be increased, and that the Coalition have taken some important steps in this direction, I think that the Government should select Ministers, and set budgets, that is what we elect them to do. I also don’t believe that that would be the best way to change the Lords. I believe that one of the strengths of the Lords is its expertise. There are people in the Lords with experience and knowledge that MPs don’t have, and we need them to improve legislation. That is why, when there is a very complex bill, like the Companies Act 2006, it goes through the Lords first, or they make substantive changes.
Douglas Carswell saw my tweet, obviously through the YBF hashtag, as I didn’t actuall mention him. He responded, saying: @JulietteG Westminster insiders tend not to like ideas targeted at SW1 closed shop . My responses were: @DouglasCarswell actually I am largely in favour of Constitutional Reform, esp strengthening select cttes. Just didnt agree w/all yr ideas. @DouglasCarswell I’m also in favour of HofL reform, but disagree with your specific plans. @DouglasCarswell I wouldn’t call myself a Westminster, but thanks for suggesting it 😀 . Another tweeter also asked what the reforms were.
As yet, neither of us has had a response yet (this was at 17.30 last night). I am disappointed, because I would have enjoyed substantive debate on the issues. Doesn’t look like I’ll get it, but feel free to share your opinions.