Some good changes to Standing Orders

The next will have some changes to its Standing Orders, and as with previous reviews they are generally positive. Significant changes include:

  • A new petitions committee chaired by a presiding officer that will consider petitions and can refer them to specialist committees, or direct to Ministers for a response or even an Ombudsman
  • Transfer seven hours of debate time from the (generally pointless) Budget debate to other non-legislative business. This still leaves eight hours for the Budget debate which is more than enough.
  • Ability for select committees to have members participate remotely
  • More questioning of Ministers during committee stages of Bills by revoking the four call limit
  • Automatic introduction of a members’ bill that has 61 non-executive MPs in favour of it. This means non controversial members’ bills can bypass the ballot
  • Reduce 90 minute dinner breaks on Tuesday and Wednesday to 60 minutes so house can rise at 5 pm Thursday instead of 6 pm (very useful for flight catching)
  • Allow extended sittings on Friday morning for set topic debates or non Government business
  • Require select committees to include minority reports as of right
  • Allow questions and answers on ministerial statements

One of the more significant revisions. People often think Parliament is all about question time, but in reality a huge amount is done outside that which is constructive and useful towards improving laws and Government performance.

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