Select Committees

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — President of the Council – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th January 2001.

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Photo of Margaret Beckett Margaret Beckett Chair, Modernisation of the House of Commons Committee, Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Privy Council Office) 12:00 am, 30th January 2001

My hon. Friend makes an interesting proposal. He will know that the Government were unattracted by the suggestion that there should be a special half hour for those debates, and he makes a different point that the time would be too short and the format wrong. I wholeheartedly share the view that it is important that we scrutinise and discuss more Select Committee reports. He will know that successive Governments have always found it difficult to find more time to do so on the Floor of the House, by whatever means.

I know that my hon. Friend, and I hope the whole House, will be pleased to learn that whereas in the whole of the previous Parliament we debated only about 50 of the nearly 600 Select Committee reports produced, in the previous Session we discussed 22. That is a good way not only to hold the Government to account but to reflect the worth of Select Committees' work.