Political

Would Parliament be better if MPs did less casework and spent more time there listening to debates?

Yoosk have picked one of my questions to pose to MPs in their competition to find Britain’s best MP:

Would Parliament be better if MPs did less casework and spent more time there listening to debates?

It’s not a question I’d give a simple yes or no to myself, but I thought it could flush out some interesting answers from the shortlisted MPs – as it has.

You can watch the responses from Lynne Featherstone (Liberal Democrat), Tom Harris (Labour), David Howarth (Liberal Democrat), Chris Mullin (Labour), Bob Russell (Liberal Democrat), Gisela Stuart (Labour), Jo Swinson (Liberal Democrat) and Douglas Carswell (Conservative) here:

2 responses to “Would Parliament be better if MPs did less casework and spent more time there listening to debates?”

  1. I have a problem with Gisela Stuart’s answer `If we work better with our local Councillors on the ground we can probably spend more time in debates` – the real question is: Which local Cllrs? Just Labour ones for her?

  2. The question at the heart of your question is ‘why do MPs have to spend so much time on casework?’

    My guess is its because public services are either too procedurally complex for people to understand, or terrible at dealing with complaints, or more likely both together.

    More responsive public services could be the way to help MPs focus on their legislative and scrutiny roles…

    But maybe its a chicken and egg issue… how do they make services more responsive if they are too busy dealing with the consequences and complexities of unresponsive services to focus on how to reform them?

    I guess that oversimplifies it a little… but read the reports of the Parliamentary Ombudsman on some of the middle-sized screw ups… it can take months and months just to work out what went wrong and what should have happened in a particular case. The terrifying levels of error in the benefits system are another example of the same problem.

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