House of Commons Governance Select Committee – Tuesday 11 November 2014

On Tuesday 11 November, the House of Commons Governance of the House Committee, of which Valerie is a member, heard evidence from Rt Hon William Hague MP, Leader of the House of Commons; Rt Hon Angela Eagle MP, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons; followed by Sir Paul Beresford MP, Rt Hon Sir Menzies Campbell MP, Rt Hon Hazel Blears MP and Nigel Mills MP.

Valerie said:

“William Hague has served in the House of Commons for a long time, I asked him who he felt was in charge in the running of the House of Commons. Mr Hague believed that the Speaker was in charge as he was chair of the House of Commons Commission, but he added that the other five members of the Commission had leadership responsibilities. There is sometimes a feeling in the House that the Management Board and Commission are not quite working together. I asked Mr Hague how he believed that could be improved. Mr Hague said that there may need to be other devices to improve the feeling of accountability to Members.”

“The House of Commons Commissions publishes reports. I asked Angela Eagle how these reports are presented to the Commission or does the Commission generate the reports themselves. Ms Eagle told me that the agenda of the Commission is set by the Speaker and the reports turn up a few days in advance of the meetings. I asked about the House of Commons organogram, whether she would like to see it more streamlined and where the buck stops. Ms Eagle said that the House is complex and in the same building there are two Chambers which are both self-governing. She said the buck stops with the Speaker in terms of the decisions that are made, but the Management Board has a responsibility for delivering particular things.”

“The Governance structure of the House of Commons is very unclear and the organogram, does not seem to help matters. Sir Menzies Campbell agreed with me that a much clearer line of responsibility was needed. Hazel Blears thought that the governance structure was very complex and slightly opaque.”

More information on the House of Commons Governance Committee can be found here: