Backbench Business Committee

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons at 4:16 pm on 12th March 2012.

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Photo of David Heath David Heath The Deputy Leader of the House of Commons 4:16 pm, 12th March 2012

The hon. Gentleman raises a separate issue, one that we explored at length when we set up the Committee. The answer is that the Committee is a Committee of the House which deals with the topical issues before it, and it is right that Back Benchers have a regular opportunity to express their view on its performance; I make no apologies for that. It is sensible that the House has such control, because if we were to elect the Committee’s members for an entire Parliament, the House would lose that opportunity to reflect on, or to see, whether the Committee was conducting itself as the House had hoped.

That is entirely different in kind from the responsibilities, within a Select Committee, of Select Committee members, who need such continuity in order to do their job effectively of holding to account the Department in question. To my mind there is a clear separation, but the hon. Gentleman may take a different view. I am simply confident that the House is capable of making decisions about the way in which it conducts its affairs, and of doing so without the benefit of distortions of any kind in the system. That is what is proposed today.