Today saw Andrea Leadsom take the unusual step of calling out a Parliamentary committee for lack of scrutiny as part of her interview for the Institute for Government.
The event titled ‘What next for the House of Commons’ took place online and consisted of Andrea Leadsom being interviewed, followed by some Q&A.
The former Leader of the House touched on bullying an human resources in the Commons, and voting during Covid19. Mrs Leadsom touched on the importance of face to face debate, why presence in the House was important and why digital, though working well in some aspects, is not ideal long-term.
Soon she dove into the project she had worked on previously in her role as Leader of the House, the renovations of Westminster Palace. From scary stories about the underbelly and crumbling statues to plans for the future, it was clear Mrs Leadsom had a passion to make the Parliament buildings fit for the future whilst respecting history. The interview progressed and she took aim at the House of Commons Commission.
The House of Commons Commission takes decisions on the restoration project, they were behind the beautiful blue numbering you can catch glimpses of as you pass by Elizabeth Tower, disabled access in Parliament, whether a temporary chamber should be set up for MPs and Lords during renovation and if digital access to debates should continue throughout the pandemic.
The Commission, chaired by the Speaker is unlike other committees in that members are appointed by Government whips, rather than individuals elected by their peers. Andrea Leadsom did not take aim at the Speaker, rather how the Commission (established in 1978!) was administrated, it seems the Commission itself may need just as much renovation as Parliament.
Calling for detailed minutes of proceedings, transparency over the ever-rising costs and which committee members took which views. Ms Leadsom explained that even the decision process is entirely behind closed doors, with decisions published without context or explanation.
It made for an interesting hour where we saw a fiery side of a well known female Conservatives. So if you missed it, tune in below.
You can sign up to more IoG events at www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk