Why is the House of Commons often so empty, and how angry should we be about it? - Us Vs Th3m

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parliament lazy mps

Why is the House of Commons often so empty, and how angry should we be about it?

Since we can now all turn on the telly and watch Parliament whenever we want, theres even more opportunity to be appalled by our elected representatives!

But hold on a second, is this really fair?

The reality is that even conscientious MPs have a lot of stuff going on in and out of Parliament, and no-one can realistically turn up to everything.

The session pictured in the tweet relates to a new bill called The Special Educational Needs (Personal Budgets) Regulations 2014

It addresses how government money is allocated to help children and young people with special needs.

The bill, introduced by the Government, is currently at the draft stage, and is not particularly controversial. Labours Steve McCabe was in attendance and although he raised some potential issues with how the new laws will be implemented, he made it clear that his party broadly backs the introduction of the bill.

The Opposition support the principle of personal budgets and direct payments, so we will not oppose the regulations.

Most importantly: this was not a stage at which MPs get to vote on things

Is this what MPs do when they should be in Parliament?

They could all turn up and gas on for hours if they liked, but ultimately it wouldnt help funding for special needs children, and there would be less time to talk about other things. Most MPs will have their biggest impact on this bill when its formally introduced to Parliament and they get to vote on it.

So, comparing these sessions to, say, the vote on the Iraq war, is grossly unfair

Is this what MPs do when they should be in Parliament?

Now, thats not to say we should let MPs entirely off the hook

You can see at The Public Whip that there hasnt been a single time in the current Parliament that all 650 MPs have turned up to vote. Average attendance is around 67%, although this does include votes on technicalities of Parliamentary procedure such as whether sessions will be held in private where the press cant see (they almost always vote against this, incidentally).

But this is far from the political ghost town suggested by out-of-context stills of parliamentary procedure.

Or is this what MPs do when they should be in Parliament?

And look, its hardly like were short of real reasons to hate Members of Parliament, is it?

  • 1:12pm Jun 17, 2014
  • 3 notes