|Thinking Out of the Box
||The contentious issue of MP expenses seems to revolve significantly around the 'need' for a 2nd home near Westminster.
I realize that this suggestion would require a complete culture change but: why not make use of broadband technology so that Westminster business could largely be conducted from a Member's Constituency (video conferencing, voting facilities ...) and thus remove the need for a 2nd home.
I realize that this change could not be an overnight solution and would need to be phased in over several years but if successful, would be a significant 'Green initiative' (and potentially have other benefits regarding MP and Constituency relationships)for Parliament to set as an example to Business.
If you deem this idea worthy of further investigation then please don't make it a party political issue, progress it as way to help restore the standing and credibility of our elected representatives.
|Date Issue Raised:
||10 May 2009
Many thanks for the email, and I agree that we should make intelligent use of the internet and digital technology to reduce costs and the need for travel. We now have less paper than we used to, as Hansard is available on line, and much committee work is done via the computer. Some Select Committees take evidence by video-link, and some MPís have video-links to their constituencies, while they are at Westminster.
However, looking at my diary for a typical day at Westminster, it is difficult to see how I could manage from home. I may be chairing a Select Committee in the morning, going into the Chamber to ask a question in the afternoon, looking in at some All-Party Group Meetings, giving tea to visiting MPís from the Commonwealth and then voting. We have looked at remote voting but turned it down because of the risk of abuse and proxy voting.
The Select Committees on Modernisation and Procedure keep the position under review, and are making progress with e-petitions.
Best wishes, George Young