Charles Walker calls for debate on e-petition system

Charles Walker calls for Parliament to drive forward a better e-petition system that is geared to the needs of the House of Commons, its Members and the constituents.

Mr Charles Walker (Broxbourne) (Con): I thank the Leader of the House for his movement on Standing Order No. 33 and for providing significant time next week for business to be transacted relating to my Committee’s reports. I urge him, a reform-minded Leader of the House, to join the Procedure Committee in driving forward an e-petition system that is absolutely geared to the needs of the House of Commons, its Members and, of course, our constituents.

Mr Lansley: I am grateful to my hon. Friend and his Committee for their work. I hope that next week’s debate will enable us to demonstrate that although we have a very successful system of e-petitions to Government, we do not have a mechanism by which members of the public can petition their Parliament. It is an essential and historic element of the work of this Parliament that it receive and consider petitions and grievances. Although the public have on occasion seen petitions to the Government website turn into debates in this House, strictly speaking the House has no ownership of the petition system itself. I hope we can, through that debate, initiate a process by which we can enable members of the public to feel that they are petitioning their Parliament and seeking its response, and action and response from Government at the same time.

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