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Government Powers (Limitation) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:57 pm on 14th March 2003.

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Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Conservative, Buckingham 1:57 pm, 14th March 2003

I, too, am concerned about that relationship. The essence of that concern is that increasing the size of Government, putting more people on the payroll and constraining the capacity of individual legislators to express their personal opinions deprives the public of the authentic representative and independent-minded House of Commons, which, in a modern democracy, they ought to be able to depend on and enjoy. That is one of the reasons why I want a smaller Government and a greater independent-minded capacity to scrutinise.

I have talked about the appointment of Ministers and stated my belief that their number should be reduced. I am also extremely concerned about the massive and exponential growth in the number of special advisers, from 38 in the last year of the Conservative Government to no fewer than 81 in 2001. The cost of those special advisers to the taxpayer, who is obliged to finance those arrangements, rose in that period from £1.8 million a year to no less than £4.4 million a year. My Bill is designed to check and constrain that trend.