But let’s face it – reading through pages of House of Commons (or other assembly) debates online (or from a printed out PDF) is pretty dry stuff. Consequently, it isn’t surprising that many parliaments have been trying to make their online Debates pages more interesting and informative for the reader.
As someone who regularly visits parliamentary websites — and by regularly, I mean several times a day, even on weekends — I can’t even begin to explain how deeply grateful I am for well-organized sites that allow to me easily navigate the site and quickly find whatever It is that I’m looking for. While many parliaments have put (and continue to put) a lot of effort into modernizing their web presence and trying to find the best ways to present the Parliament’s business, the truth of the matter is that a lot of parliamentary business tends to be rather static and dry. Much of the business of a legislature is debate, and yes, while it is great to be able […]
The Government has a duty to answer WPQs accurately and in full. It is unacceptable that some answers fall short of these standards, and the Government must reiterate these responsibilities both in guidance provided to officials and in the Ministerial Code.
Procedure Committee - Third Report Written Parliamentary Questions
While most are quite familiar with Question Period or Question Time – the parliamentary proceeding during which MPs question government ministers – you may not know that in addition to oral questions, MPs can ask government ministers questions in writing. These written questions are often used to obtain more detailed information about policies and statistics on the activities of government departments that would require too long an answer to be asked as an oral question during Question Period. Rules surrounding written questions vary somewhat from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For example, in the Canadian House of Commons, 48 hours notice is required before a written question is placed on the Order Paper. Each MP is allowed a maximum of four questions […]
The vast majority of British voters have zero interest in Prime Minister’s Questions. Nor, once the initial novelty had worn off, would they have any more interest in watching People’s Questions. It’s only politicians who think the weekly interrogation of politicians is of major national significance.
UK Labour Party leader Ed Miliband recently floated the idea of a weekly “public question time” where an audience representative of the country would question the prime minister on any issue of the day. Miliband was a bit short on details regarding how this would work. Apart from stating that the audience should be representative of the country, the only other details he provided was that the public PMQs should be held in parliament at least every two weeks, but preferably weekly. On the surface, it’s an interesting idea, but it also raises a number of questions. First of all, how would these people – representative of the country – be selected? Would it be a completely random process, you […]