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Committee of Selection

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th April 1976.

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Photo of Hon. Nicholas Ridley Hon. Nicholas Ridley , Cirencester and Tewkesbury 12:00 am, 28th April 1976

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I wish to raise with you a matter which seems to me to be important. The Committee of Selection is meeting in 10 minutes' time and will be considering its policy for appointing members of Standing Committees and Select Committees in accordance with the change in the representation in the House of the various political parties. That policy will be of fundamental importance to the future of the legislative programme and is a subject which is exercising hon. Members on both sides of the House.

Before the Committee of Selection proceeds to that task, it seems to me right that the Committee should be representative itself of this House. At the moment, five of its members are supporters of the Government and only three represent the Opposition parties. Indeed, there are no members of the Committee who represent the four minor parties which sit on this side of the House. That seems to me to represent a totally undemocratic situation and one which should not be allowed to proceed.

The Committee does not report to the House and have its policy approved by a motion, and the House does not have the opportunity to approve the general principles upon which the Committee will be proceeding. That means that the Committee could proceed to nominate Standing Committee representation which could be totally unrepresentative of the House. It is for that reason that it seems to me all the more important that the Committee itself should a least carry parity of membership from both sides of the House before it deliberates on its policy.

I have informed the Leader of the House that I wished to raise this matter. I merely invite him to try to get a motion on the Order Paper, perhaps in time for tomorrow, to appoint an equal number of Members from each side of the House to the Committee of Selection. I am sure that the Committee would be prepared to suspend its sitting until that motion had been carried by the House, and then we would all feel that we could see that justice 0had been done.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

The hon. Gentleman gave me notice of his intention to raise this matter, and I am much obliged to him for so doing. The selection of the Committee of Selection is a matter for the House and not for me. Therefore, no point of order arises out of it with which I can deal.