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

I am entirely familiar with the Hansard reference that my hon. Friend quotes. I am familiar also with what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said because I was sitting two places away from him at the time. I understand my hon. Friend's concern about delays in appointments. I hope that he will appreciate that, whatever may have been the position in 1992, in 1997 there was a substantial change in the membership of the House. He will know that, at least in the Labour party, Members were invited to indicate on which Select Committees they would prefer to serve, and an attempt was made to meet as many of those requests as possible. That process takes time. I hope that he will acknowledge that the Government proceeded as expeditiously as we reasonably could in perhaps somewhat exceptional circumstances.