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

As my hon. Friend knows, I think that the idea is perfectly legitimate and worthy of discussion. Indeed, it has been discussed. She invites us to set a new and good example, and I believe that we have done so by providing far greater opportunities to debate Select Committee reports. However, the Government are not of the view that it would assist the House, irrespective of any impact in Government, for Ministers to be invited or pressed to give an off-the-cuff response, which is in effect what we are talking about, to what may be weighty Select Committee reports. There is genuine creative tension on that point. Surely, the more serious and the more in-depth the work of Select Committees, the more Select Committees want the Government to consider their work fully and give an in-depth response, rather than reacting in the relatively short term.