Reform of Parliamentary procedure

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
33,144
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#1
With Brexit being such a hot topic, Parliament has been on TV a lot lately. And it's highlighted, for me, some of the arcane practices in the House of Commons.

Each vote, for example, requires the Speaker to call for aye and no shouts, then more often than not, declaring "division", MPs leaving the Chamber, filing into lobbies before the heads are counted and the Speaker instructing the doors to be unlocked.

I understand the attachment to history, ceremony, precedent and all that, but surely, in the 21st century, there are better ways to do business?

All MPs could be issued with voting devices to register a For or Against vote. That, I reckon would save a good 20 minutes per vote.

And given that much of what MPs do is debate, there is no particular reason why the House of Commons couldn't convene electronically via video conferencing. It would save taxpayers the cost of MPs travelling and living in London and keep them closer to their constituencies.

Agree or disagree?
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
25,920
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#2
This is an issue also in Italy where there are two chambers [but we've got Senators, not Lords, in the High Chamber] as well.

Here it's not about electronic systems ... This is what you can see in our parliament.
camera.jpg
And representatives vote using a touch device [which recognizes the representative].

The issue here is about how much a camera with 615 representatives costs. Adding the Senate we reach the remarkable number of almost 1,000 expensive politicians who gather in Rome to "work" for no more than 4 days per week.

In the United States the Senate and the Chamber count 535 representatives for a population of about 329,000,000 inhabitants. That is to say a representative for 614,953 inhabitants.

In Italy we've got 945 representatives for a population of about 60,500,000 inhabitants. That is to say a representative for 64,021 inhabitants!

If I apply the American rate ... Italy should count 98.3, let's say 100 representatives.

Imagine that the Low Chamber costs almost 1,000,000,000 € per year! The pensions of the former representatives are a good part of this cost [in Italy we want to reform those pensions ...].

As for I know, in UK, the House of Commons costs "only" 260,000,000 € per year. So at least about this, you cannot complain too much ...
 
Mar 2019
920
Kansas
#4
[QUOTE="Naomasa298, post: 3123194, member: 6574"
And given that much of what MPs do is debate, there is no particular reason why the House of Commons couldn't convene electronically via video conferencing. It would save taxpayers the cost of MPs travelling and living in London and keep them closer to their constituencies.

Agree or disagree?[/QUOTE]

When Australia built her new Parliament House in the 1980s. It was wired up to do exactly what you suggested. MPs would have been able to vote debate etc from right in their office. Ultimately the system was never turned on due to fears of people pressing the wrong button. Unauthorized people pressing buttons.......and outright equipment failure.
 
Aug 2011
138
The Castle Anthrax
#5
I agree. Let them Skype. Save some money for not having to maintain such stately parliamentary quarters. And as an added bonus they can all spend a lot more time with their constituents whom they are representing.
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,831
Dispargum
#6
It might also force lobbyists to scatter throughout the country instead of concentrating in the capital city. Dispersing the lobbyists might weaken their influence slightly.
 
Likes: Phalo
Feb 2019
345
California
#7
With Brexit being such a hot topic, Parliament has been on TV a lot lately. And it's highlighted, for me, some of the arcane practices in the House of Commons.

Each vote, for example, requires the Speaker to call for aye and no shouts, then more often than not, declaring "division", MPs leaving the Chamber, filing into lobbies before the heads are counted and the Speaker instructing the doors to be unlocked.

I understand the attachment to history, ceremony, precedent and all that, but surely, in the 21st century, there are better ways to do business?

All MPs could be issued with voting devices to register a For or Against vote. That, I reckon would save a good 20 minutes per vote.

And given that much of what MPs do is debate, there is no particular reason why the House of Commons couldn't convene electronically via video conferencing. It would save taxpayers the cost of MPs travelling and living in London and keep them closer to their constituencies.

Agree or disagree?

Disagree. These arcane procedures perhaps serve a useful function of helping members take their responsibilities more seriously if not even giving a few of them time to reflect......
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
33,144
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#8
When Australia built her new Parliament House in the 1980s. It was wired up to do exactly what you suggested. MPs would have been able to vote debate etc from right in their office. Ultimately the system was never turned on due to fears of people pressing the wrong button. Unauthorized people pressing buttons.......and outright equipment failure.
It says something when you can't trust politicians to even press the right button.
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
25,920
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#10
And I'll bet when there are no votes, that board shows the latest Serie A scores.
When there are no votes no one watches it ... the representatives can have their notebooks with them [free wireless connection for all in Italian Parliament]. The result is that the elected politicians spend their time in the Assembly in really serious activities.

parlamento.jpg