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Parliament Matters

Will the parties reform Westminster?

Season 1, Ep. 38

After a brief election-induced hiatus Mark and Ruth are back to look at the party’s manifesto plans to reshape Parliament and politics. They are joined by one of the country’s leading constitutional experts, Professor Meg Russell, Director of the Constitution Unit at University College London, to give us her verdict on the parties’ proposals to reform both the Commons and the Lords. 


They explore Labour’s proposals for a Modernisation Committee in the House of Commons which will be tasked with considering procedural reforms, driving up standards and improving working practices. So, what might the agenda for this new Committee look like? How will the membership be constituted in a House with so many new MPs who have little knowledge and experience of how Westminster works?


The conversation then shifts to the House of Lords, where Mark and Ruth speak with Earl Kinnoull, Convenor of the Crossbench Peers, the facilitator of the second largest group in the House. The Lords is one of the few real speed-bumps that a Labour Government with a large Commons majority would face. Could a Labour Government even with a very big majority run into resistance on some of its proposals to reform the Upper House? Lord Kinnooull suggests that building cross-party consensus is likely to be the most productive approach to these constitutional reforms.


Back in the studio Meg Russell suggests ways in which the relatively vague manifesto commitments might be implemented, to improve the way Peers enter and leave the House and to police its future size. 


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Parliament Matters is a Hansard Society production supported by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.


Producer: Richard Townsend

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