Saturday, August 01, 2009

Will Tory MPs Boycott the Regional Grand Committees?

During the first week of September the government's new white elephants, the regional grand committees will be meeting all over the country. These committees are meant to shadow the regional select committees which have been set up. Talk about an expensive waste of time and money. They are meant to give the impression of Whitehall devolving power, but actually, they have no powers and are just talking shops. The select committees all have Labour majorities even if the region doesn't. This has led to a farcical situation in the eastern region grand committee, which has 55 MPs. To sit, it needs a quorum of 17 MPs, but since 39 of them are Conservatives the meeting, held to discuss future regional strategy (whatever that is) is likely to be abandoned. Shame really, since doorkeepers and clerks will have been dispatched from the House of Commons to preside.

The grand committee is chaired by LibDem MP Bob Russell, but the only other eastern region LibDem MP Norman Lamb has said he won't be turning up, describing the committee as "a sop designed to make people think the government is devolving power." So far, I have been unable to find a single Tory MP who intends going to Bedford on 8 September. There is no organised boycott, but perhaps there ought to be. Nothing can be achieved from these meetings and why on earth would an MP on the east coast travel to Bedford for the privilege of putting questions to Barbara Follett? No, I don't know, either.

The eastern region select committee has even more problems. One of its five Labour members (there are nine members altogether) was Ian Gibson and its chairman is the disgraced MP for Luton South, Margaret Moran.

One other point, I don't know where most of the other committees are meeting in early September, but I am sure it is just a coincidence that the eastern region committee and the south west committee are both holding their meetings in marginal Labour seats (Bedford and Exeter). Perhaps readers may be able to let me know where the others are being held.

25 comments:

Thatsnews said...

A very interesting piece on this Grand Committee lark. I'll see if I can find out where they will meeting in the Midlands.

Meanwhile
Soldiers refusing to go to Afganistan, Mandelson told the truth on TV debate plan, Downing Street lied about it, Brown crippling councils with free bus pass spending, Iraqi officials 'colluded in British kidnapping', so what will Brown do? Probably nothing, as usual.

Thatsnews said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Midlands_Regional_Select_Committee
All Labour members, as the Tories and Lib dems refused to nominate anyone.

trevorsden said...

TYhe North West is meeting in Liverpool - "to take questions .... and to hold a general debate on Building Britain's Future: the North West's response to the economic downturn"

ho hum.

Well from a tiny bit of research i can reveal a spat over the Yorkshire and Humber region where the meeting is held in Strong labour barnsly but not Tory scarboprough.

It also seems the dated of these meetings were just rammed through parliament without any consultation and this brought about the following exchange
(Patrick McLoughlin)
"Given that it is only 4.15 pm and the Minister is present, is it not possible for her to explain to us why the meeting of the North West Regional Grand Committee must take place when Parliament has reassembled, but other Regional Grand Committees are to meet when it is in recess? Some Committees are meeting at the same time as both the Liberal Democrat and the Conservative party conferences, yet none are meeting at the same time as the Labour party conference."
(Deputy Speaker)
"Given the way in which the motions have been tabled, there is no possibility of debate, "

Go figure - it should not take long.

Anonymous said...

What's the point of refusing to attend the regional committees? Just shows how London centric the Conservative party is. Yes, the Government is daft to insist on a Labour majority on each committee, but at least it should give voters a chance to see and hear their MPs views on matters which affect their region.

The following web link gives the dates of the other regional meetings

http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/briefings/snpc-04411.pdf

Anoneumouse said...

Not only should the Conservative party ignore these regional grand committees they should make it perfectly clear, that when elected, they will be abolished along with the rest of the 9 English regional structures. They should also make it clear that when these regional structures are abolished an indepth audit will be carried out and any impropriety by any individual jointly or in consequence will be prosecuted. These quango's are riddled with curruption.

ian said...

Another reason to boycott is Bob Russle MP - the biggest irrelevance in the House of Commons

That man is a complete eejit. Everything he says and everything he does is for his own self publicity.

bunnco said...

It just so happens that I wanted to attend the Regional Grand Committee to ask whether local MPs felt it sufficiently important to tie infrastructure funding to the numbers of new houses the Governmnent is demanding.

Building millions of new homes without the funding for the SkoolsN'ospitals seemed something they might be interested in.

But I've been told [see below] that it's not possible for Local Government represenatives to place matters of Local Governance on the agenda.

Regional Grand Committees? Another Quango for Cameron to eliminate.

From: Tom XXXXXXX [mailto:Tom.XXXXXX@XXXXXX.gsi.gov.uk]
Sent: 30 July 2009
To: XXXXXX, Ruth
Subject: Re: Regional Grand Committee

Dear Ruth,

Thanks for your email.

Regional Grand Committees are committees called by Government to enable the region's MPs to come together to discuss the issue(s) that the House agreed, in our case "Priorities for a Future Regional Strategy".

MPs can raise issues they wish under this banner as part of the debate, or table Oral Questions to the Regional Ministers as part of her Question Time slot which will follow, but there is no formal mechanism for Local Government to put items on the agenda.

You wish to engage with an MP or MPs to suggest that they raise specific issues in the debate or put Questions to the Minister, but that's the extent of it, I'm afraid.

If you wish to discuss this further I suggest you speak to Pete Northover who is the lead on Grand Committees for GO-East on 01223 372693.

Kind regards,

Tom XXXXXXX

GO-East
Eastbrook
Shaftesbury Road
Cambridge
CB2 2DF


What a waste of time.

Anonymous said...

Broon and McLabour trying to complete their sole mission on behalf of their employers in the EU, to carve England up into feeble little Welsh and Scotch sized Regions ruled from Brussels.

English Parliament NOW!!!!!!.

Charters and Caldecott said...

Would I be right in assuming the these regional committees have been set up to fit in with EU plans for a 'Europe of regions'?

That would explain the complete absence of any democratic process or consultation and communication with the public.

And, of course, the fact that the EU is never mentioned.

John Moss said...

Can we protest outside with the Taxpayer's Alliance?

Waste of Our Money placards etc etc?

Uncle Bob said...

And how much are these committees costing the taxpayer?

jane said...

South-East one meeting in - wooh! - Reading

wonkotsane said...

The Tories will co-operate with the regional structure because they have to. Camoron says the Tories won't leave the European Empire under his leadership and the European Empire requires England to be broken up into regions.

The Tory membership might be opposed to the European Empire and regionalisation but the Tory leadership isn't. Unfortunately, it seems that too many Tories are prepared to forget about the fact that their leadership no more reflects their views or the views of the electorate than the leadership of the Liebour Party or the Lib Dims and continue to support the anti-English, pro-EU Tories.

Wake up and smell the roses!

trevorsden said...

Stop Press

44 - 20 - 18 in poll of the marginals

http://politicalbetting.com/

I have to say I like the depiction of the LibDem logo in this report (bearing in mind Smithson is a LibDem) but 20- 18 is not bad for the dems.

Will they realise I wonder that their best bet is to simply ignore the Tories and go for labour??

I think the visual image of Brown shows what a problem he will be on the campaign trail.

Devon Belle said...

The South West committe is meeting in Exeter not because it's Benny's seat but because Exeter is the de-facto capital of the South West!

Agreed however these committees are a total waste of time, as are the RDA and all the quangocracy of the English regions.

The Tories should make a manifesto commitment to abolish all this money-wasting as part of the neccessary cuts to public spending. No-one but their staff and new labour zealots will miss these unelected travesties.

Anonymous said...

Hi Iain,
are these regional committees not something to do with bowing down to Europe's rules?

Anonymous said...

Surely these Regional Comm. are the building bricks of the Europen State prior to the abolition of national Governments.

Thatsnews said...

http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2009-06-25&number=165

Here are the details:
Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No.117A(3)), That the West Midlands Regional Grand Committee shall meet in Sandwell on Thursday 8 October between 6.30 pm and 9.00 pm to take questions under Standing Order No. 117B (Regional Grand Committees (questions for oral answer)) and to hold a general debate on the economy: building the West Midlands' future.- ( Mr. Watts.)

tally said...

England must be abolished according to lib/dem Lord Newby in 1998. It carries on unchecked 11 years later despite the English public repeatedly saying they do not want England to be abolished with regionalisation. The tories have validated regionalisation by being involved with them.It was a tory idea in the first place.

"A leading Liberal Democrat, Lord Newby, will argue today that England must be abolished as a political entity and broken down into its constituent regions in order to save the UK.

The Financial Times (p7) reports that Lord Newby, in a pamphlet published by the Centre for Reform, a Liberal Democrat think-tank, will says there should be a series of regional assemblies, rather than an English parliament.

'We must avoid having parallel English and UK governments, with an English prime minister jostling with the UK prime minister,' he says.

'Such an unstable situation would surely spell the end of the UK. We must therefore harness the English regions to save the UK.'

He adds: 'The current piecemeal attempt at modernising our outdated constitution by bite-sized chunks of change is not a vision.'


Politicians now claim there is no consensus on what now to do with England.If they are addled, turn the question over to the English public and hold a referendum for an English Parliament.It's called democracy.

gadgie said...

from the Yorkshire Post

Tom Richmond

"WHAT does it say about Westminster when it can bill taxpayers more than £1,500 for the cost of the inaugural meeting of the Yorkshire Select Committee in this region – even though the gathering in Leeds did not take place because one MP could not attend? The authorities say the money had to be spent on staff travel, accommodation and room hire. I say that it could have been done for far cheaper in a community hall, and at lunchtime (to avoid the need for a hotel stay"

Anonymous said...

The Regional Ministers and Regional Grand Committees were invented to promote government policies across the English Regions [Gordon Browns idea that this should be the first priority for Regional Ministers].
Well, he can shove them up his kilt. We WILL have an English Parliament.
Yesterday, a welsh newspaper printed a story saying that the Welsh got their NATIONAL Assembly, because a Welsh Terrorist [not their word, of course], attempted to blow up English infrastructure. That's Welsh, Irish and Scottish terrorists, then.
I wonder why we English are treated so appallingly and in the circumstances, why is it only the English who are called racist right wing nationalists? What must we do to get our own Parliament? Look to our neighbours behaviour?

stephengash said...

I've given up on the Tories. Cameron and a load of other Tory MPs couldn't even be bothered to debate and vote on Regional Grand Committees.

That's how much Cameron cares about England. The Tories take the English for granted. They have provided the most useless opposition since Kinnock and Foot. This is why the English have the worst deal on absolutely everything since devolution.

Cameron pathetically tries to score personal points against Brown instead of challenging Labour constantly about top-up fees, lack of cancer drugs, prescription charges, hospital car parking charges and the list goes on and on where the English are ripped off.

I don't trust Cameron. He has no intention of getting rid of English regions. He'll just re-jig it to suit him.

As a former Tory voter, it is highly unlikely I'll vote Tory again. They have always talked big on the EU but dragged us further into it. As a result we have these horrible regions and England (not the sodding UK) under the direst threat since WW2.

I don't know how Tory MPs sleep at night when their constituents die of cancer for lack of drugs that are freely available in Scotland.

Oh, well I do actually. Tories care more about their f***inf ducks than they do about English people.

Screw the UK.

Roger Thornhill said...

As tweeted, in all you post you do not mention the EU dimension. This is about "Westminster" breaking up England into 9 regions because that is what Brussels wants to happen. Can you not see this??

Participants are little better than traitors.

They are certainly Enemy Within.

Terry Hamblin said...

Exeter the de facto capital of the South West? The South West contains Bristol, Bath, Gloucester, Cheltenham, Swindon, Plymouth, Poole and Bournemouth, all more significant towns and cities than Exeter and none of us looks to Exeter as our capital, any more than we look to Salisbury, Dorchester, Melksham, Trowbridge, Wilton, Blandford, Shaftesbury, Truro, St Ives, Oakhampton, Bradford on Avon, Taunton, Barnstable or any other piddling little town.

Alfie said...

If Cameron had any strand of democracy running through his backbone he would immediately declare his intention for wholesale constitutional reform.

Not rearranging the deck chairs or kicking it into the long grass, but root and branch reform. That includes the restoration of an English Parliament and the disbanding of the House of Lords and the unelected regional quangos...

But he doesn't, so he won't will he?