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North Wiltshire MP calls for more scrutiny of Goverment
North Wiltshire MP James Gray has called for more backbench scrutiny of the Government and greater use of Westminster Hall for ministerial statements.
Speaking at Thursday’s Business questions, Mr Gray said: “The Government have increased the number of ministerial statements made to this House, and you, Mr Speaker, have increased the use of urgent questions to hold the Government to account, which is also welcome.”
“However, it sometimes feels as if there is not much point in attending events such as the Budget debate or the Queen’s Speech debate, as one has read all about them in the previous Sunday’s newspapers, which shows that not enough is yet being done.“ “Will the Government consider making use of Westminster Hall, or elsewhere, in order to have far more ministerial statements and, crucially, far more opportunities for Back-Benchers to scrutinise what Ministers are up to?”
In response, deputy leader of the house Tom Brake said that many more statements had been forthcoming than had previously been the case. He agreed that it would be a good idea for Westminster Hall to be used for such statements: “It is worth pointing out that over the recent period there have been 32 Prime Minister’s statements. We are making more statements per day than under the previous Government. I agree, however, that it would be a good idea to allow Westminster Hall to be used for oral statements, and the Leader of the House has expressed support for that.”
Mr Gray also praised the work of the Backbench Business Committee describing it as “an outstanding success,” and called for increasing the amount of time allocated for backbench debates.