Results 1–20 of 1600 for (in the 'Commons debates' OR in the 'Westminster Hall debates' OR in the 'Lords debates' OR in the 'Northern Ireland Assembly debates') speaker:Mark Fisher

Report from the House of Commons Reform Committee on Rebuilding the House (22 Feb 2010)

Mark Fisher: It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Oxford, West and Abingdon (Dr. Harris), and to pay tribute to the part that he has played in getting us where we are today. He played an enormous part in ensuring that the amendment was tabled, and in working so constructively and coherently with the Leader of the House and members of all parties. That is an admirable example of the way in which...

Report from the House of Commons Reform Committee on Rebuilding the House (22 Feb 2010)

Mark Fisher: Certainly not. He is first, foremost and always a democrat. In the excellent speech in which he effectively introduced the motion-I hope the Leader of the House will forgive me for saying that-my hon. Friend said, "We are nearly there." The question is, who are the "we" and where is the "there" that we are near? With one or two very creditable exceptions-it is vital, in any debate, to hear...

Report from the House of Commons Reform Committee on Rebuilding the House (22 Feb 2010)

Mark Fisher: I entirely agree with my hon. Friend, but it is more a rebalancing of two distinct roles: that of the Executive-who have a role of their own in proposing legislation, imposing taxation and taking action on behalf of this country-and that of this House. The two are often confused, but the role of this House is to hold the Government to account, scrutinise them, ask them severe questions and...

Report from the House of Commons Reform Committee on Rebuilding the House (22 Feb 2010)

Mark Fisher: I do agree. The interesting thing about the report is that it tends to concentrate on structures. They are a necessary and vital first step in achieving reform, but they are not in themselves sufficient. We will also have to change the culture of this place if we are to achieve real reform. For example, we must stop seeing total party loyalty as the be-all and end-all of everything. My hon....

Report from the House of Commons Reform Committee on Rebuilding the House (22 Feb 2010)

Mark Fisher: We could go on with interesting hypotheses, but the hon. Gentleman makes a good point.

Report from the House of Commons Reform Committee on Rebuilding the House (22 Feb 2010)

Mark Fisher: I am not entirely sure which Parliaments my hon. Friend has been a Member of if she really thinks that this is a Parliament of free and independent minds. She seems to have lived through a different Parliament than the one that I have lived through. We are on the brink of reform, and we now need to step over the brink. This is just a start, and we must not forget why we are here and how we...

Report from the House of Commons Reform Committee on Rebuilding the House (22 Feb 2010)

Mark Fisher: I entirely agree with my hon. Friend, as I do on so many occasions. The importance of local party democracy is central. Although throughout this debate we have identified the importance of this House in holding the Government to account, the other thrust, which we have perhaps not discussed enough, is the sense that reform will help us to create and sense our own identity-an identity distinct...

Report from the House of Commons Reform Committee on Rebuilding the House (22 Feb 2010)

Mark Fisher: Does my hon. Friend agree that we should base our working year on our constituents' working year, and that there is absolutely no reason why we should have such incredibly long holidays?

Business of the House (7 Jan 2010)

Mark Fisher: Returning to the Wright Committee, do we take it that when the Leader of House says that the House will have the opportunity to decide on its report, she is saying that there will definitely be a substantive motion on which the House will have the opportunity to vote? I hope that that substantive motion will be, as the hon. Member for Somerton and Frome (Mr. Heath) said, on the draft...

House of Commons Reform (15 Dec 2009)

Mark Fisher: This debate will focus on the excellent report produced by my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock Chase (Dr. Wright). Sadly, he cannot be here today because he is chairing a meeting of the Public Administration Committee; we would have benefited from his contribution. Credit for setting up the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons should go to the Prime Minister and the Leader of...

House of Commons Reform (15 Dec 2009)

Mark Fisher: I shall come to that later, but of course the hon. Gentleman is right. Nevertheless, pending what happens to the report, the Government deserve some credit. We have been hoping for and arguing for such a report for the 26 years during which I have been a Member of the House. We have taken some steps forward, but as the hon. Gentleman said, now is the crucial moment. Will we see the report...

House of Commons Reform (15 Dec 2009)

Mark Fisher: The hon. Gentleman makes a valid point, but the report correctly focuses on the political reforms necessary in the House. Plenty of behavioural reforms are necessary; and this year's events, with the concentration on allowances and expenses, shows that the public are impatient with Members. Much needs to be put right, and I hope that it will be put right. However, the report is about...

House of Commons Reform (15 Dec 2009)

Mark Fisher: Absolutely not party political. No, I mean the political work that we do here in holding the Government to account. That is what we are about. Party politics is a very different matter. I mean political with a small p.

House of Commons Reform (15 Dec 2009)

Mark Fisher: I did not catch the end of the hon. Gentleman's question.

House of Commons Reform (15 Dec 2009)

Mark Fisher: If the hon. Gentleman is making a case for the separation of powers between the Executive and the legislature, as happens under the American political system, he would find certain Members of the House-including some members of the Committee-most sympathetic. However, I believe that separating powers will bring more problems. We might achieve stronger scrutiny, but we would have less...

House of Commons Reform (15 Dec 2009)

Mark Fisher: I agree with all of that. I see no reason why the House needs more than 400 Members. We would probably do a better job at focusing our attention on our work if there were fewer of us. The report was about rebuilding the House, not about casting a new constitutional settlement, although we may well come to that in the fairly near future. I am sympathetic to what the hon. Gentleman says, but...

House of Commons Reform (15 Dec 2009)

Mark Fisher: We are probably going rather wide of the subject. However, I have great sympathy with my hon. Friend's view. Indeed, one necessary aspect of that would not be the strengthening of citizens advice, desirable though that would be, but a strengthening of local government, which has lost much of its autonomy and powers. It is now an agent for central Government rather than an entity in itself....

House of Commons Reform (15 Dec 2009)

Mark Fisher: That is self-evident. Those of us who think that we personally are being elected will find when we stand for re-election, in May or June or whenever it is, that it is our party that will be re-elected. Of course, the hon. Lady is absolutely right. We are sent here to be a check and a balance on Government, which is in the interests of both the public and the Government. If we do our job...

House of Commons Reform (15 Dec 2009)

Mark Fisher: Yes, but those roles are not alternatives. It is the fascination, complexity and difficulty of our job that we are, quite rightly, expected to do both. We have to be very involved with our communities, respond to them and learn from them. All of our e-mails and mail bags are a political education on a daily basis; we understand and learn what is happening in our country and what the effect is...

House of Commons Reform (15 Dec 2009)

Mark Fisher: One of the really impressive things about this report, which reflects well on the Chairman and the all-party members of the Committee, is that the Committee did not allow itself to get diverted by micro-matters such as that-important though they are. It kept to the high ground of what the principles were and the foundation stones that we need to put in place if we are to rebuild the House....


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