HC Deb 14 November 2000 vol 356 c804
48. Helen Jackson (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

What response the Government have made to proposals of the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons to improve the efficient working of the House. [136373]

The President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mrs. Margaret Beckett)

The Modernisation Committee was set up to propose changes to improve the efficient working of the House of Commons, which has already accepted Government motions to implement the programming of legislation and to defer voting. I anticipate that the House will shortly be invited to approve the continuation of the experiment with Thursday sittings and sittings in Westminster Hall.

Helen Jackson

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for the amount of work that she has done, through the Modernisation Committee, to improve the efficiency of the House and its workings. Does she agree that there is room for further improvement, as the years go by in this century, to see how best the new availability of information technology and communications systems can be brought into all our working practices, even in Committees?

Mrs. Beckett

I, in turn, am grateful to my hon. Friend, not least for her work on the Modernisation Committee, as well as for her remarks. She is right that the issue has been raised across the House, and I believe that the House will need to consider it. We cannot and should not turn our backs on the opportunities opened up by new technology, but should consider how it can most effectively supplement and make more efficient the work that Members carry out.

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