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Regional Select Committee (London)

Part of Consolidated Fund Bill – in the House of Commons at 10:37 pm on 14th December 2009.

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Photo of Robert Smith Robert Smith Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, Opposition Whip (Commons) 10:37 pm, 14th December 2009

I certainly agree that it is time for a general election, and the Prime Minister should call one rather than trying to do any more in the dying days of this Parliament, so that the country can get on and make the Government accountable.

On the specific issue of the regional Select Committee and its members, it is important to recognise the background. Yet again, the Government, through their majority, are imposing reform and accountability on this House rather than building consensus for that reform. The Government's failure to engage with other parties to build cross-party consensus in introducing regional Committees has undermined the prospect of their being successful and their legitimacy.

It would be a success if the Government withdrew the motion, engaged with the other parties and came forward with proper reforms of accountability that engage the whole House. If there is a Division, the Liberal Democrats will vote against the motion, not specifically because of the proposed members of the Committee, but in protest at the way in which the Government have handled the regional Select Committee process.

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