Thursday, 4 March 2010

Reluctant MPs offered escape route

MPs who don't turn up for committee meetings could get the boot under plans endorsed by several select committee chairs.

Hywel Francis, who chairs the Welsh affairs committee, has put his name to a move that would allow chairs to dump members who turn up for fewer than 60 per cent of meetings.

Should this be implemented, fewer than half of the current Welsh affairs membership would survive. David Davies, Nia Griffith, Sian James, Martyn Jones, Albert Owen and Mark Pritchard would be made to walk the plank.

Some of these already sit on more than one committee and might welcome a discharge.

The new barely quorate committee would comprise Hywel Francis, Mark Williams, David Jones, Hywel Williams and Alun Michael.

Of course, any mass cull would possibly be followed by a stampede of MPs eager to join the main committee for holding Welsh Ministers to account here.

Or maybe not. Dr Francis tells me: "Many people are reluctant members. Parties put people on to make up the numbers."

The issue is being discussed by the liaison committee, made up of committee chairs.

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