Charles Walker seeks reform of Private Members’ Bill process

Charles Walker MP speaks in the House of Commons, Feb 2019, Private Members’ Bills

Following the recent blocking by one MP of several high profile Private Members’ Bills, Charles Walker seeks a meeting with the Leader of the House to look at reforming the process so the Friday sittings to debate such bills showcase Parliament at its best as a force for good and an opportunity for MPs to make a difference.

Mr Charles Walker (Broxbourne) (Con)

As we approach the agony of yet another Brexit debate with nothing new to say and nothing new to hear, can I distract the Leader of the House on to something that is really very important—

Angus Brendan MacNeil (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP)

Hear, hear!

Mr Walker

I have always thought the hon. Gentleman was a very great and observant man. That thing that is really important is private Members’ Bills continuing to bring this House into disrepute. I know that this concerns the Leader of the House, the shadow Leader of the House, and all Members. Will the Leader of the House meet the Chairman of the Procedure Committee—namely myself—so that we can discuss how we can ensure that Fridays sell this place, not bring it down?

Andrea Leadsom

As Jane Austen said,

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends”,

so of course I will be delighted to meet my hon. Friend. He raises a very important point. I know that all of us were incredibly disappointed and enraged by the decision of one Member to block a very important private Member’s Bill on female genital mutilation. I am delighted to tell the House that I have tabled a motion to allow the Bill to be debated in a Second Reading Committee in order that it can make progress. But of course I will be happy to meet my hon. Friend.