Prime Minister's Questions: 'Sin bin' idea touted for naughty politicians

 

Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) should be moved to a slot during TV's evening prime time and Speaker John Bercow should be given the power to “sin bin” misbehaving MPs for the duration of the session, a think tank has recommended.

Polling found almost half of people thought the weekly sessions were “too noisy and aggressive”, with just 16% believing that MPs behaved professionally.

The Hansard Society recommended sweeping reforms to David Cameron's weekly appearance before MPs, including the Prime Minister being faced with questions submitted by members of the public.

A survey found 67% of the public agreed there was “too much party political point scoring” at PMQs, with just 5% disagreeing.

The Ipsos Mori study found some 47% thought it was too noisy and aggressive, compared with 15% who disagreed, and a third of respondents said PMQs put them off politics.

The Hansard Society recommended moving the session from Wednesday lunchtime, which “disproportionately” enables only older voters to watch, to a prime time slot on Tuesday or Wednesday evening in a bid to attract a younger audience.

The number of questions available to Labour leader Ed Miliband - currently six - should be reduced in order to give more time to backbench MPs.

The Speaker is frequently forced to intervene at PMQs in an effort to maintain order - including rebuking Education Secretary Michael Gove in the most recent session, telling him: “You need to write out a thousand times, 'I will behave myself at Prime Minister's Questions'.”

But the report recommended giving him a new sanction for use against offenders at PMQs, ordering them out of the Chamber for the rest of the session.

Focus group research found a “real sense of frustration with the extent to which PMQs was perceived to be out of control”, the report said.

“The Speaker's first responsibility is to maintain order but he cannot do so if MPs persist in wilfully misbehaving week after week,” it said.

“The Speaker needs to be empowered - with cross-party agreement - to take a tougher stance when members misbehave and thereby bring the House of Commons and Parliament into disrepute.”

Current sanctions available to the Speaker were deemed disproportionate, so the new “sin bin” power should be made available, banning them from the Chamber for the remainder of PMQs or for a set number of hours.

The report recommended extending PMQs once a month to 45 minutes or an hour, focused on just a few policy areas.

The remaining sessions would stay at 30 minutes, but with more closed questions on subjects designated in advance, and the input of members of the public.

“Citizens could be invited, once a month, to submit questions to the House for consideration at PMQs,” the report said, adding that Twitter had been used for that purpose in select committees.

The report's co-author Dr Ruth Fox, head of research at the Hansard Society, said: 'PMQs is a cue for the public's wider perceptions of Parliament. It provides a lot of the raw material that feeds their negative assumptions about politicians.

“The public think the conduct of MPs is childish and wouldn't be tolerated in other work places. They think politicians are simply not taking the issues that affect their lives seriously enough.

”As Parliament's 'shop window', it portrays a damaging and misleading impression of what happens at Westminster because the public think that what happens at PMQs is how Parliament works all the time.

“Reform is overdue if PMQs is to move from being an inward-looking and self-referential event towards its proper role of scrutiny and accountability.”

:: Ipsos Mori conducted face-to-face interviews between December 6 and 13, 2013 with a representative sample of 1,286 British adults.

Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Sport
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
world cup 2014But after defeating the Dutch, Lionel Messi and Argentina will walk out at the Maracana on Sunday as underdogs against Germany
Sport
Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
Sport
'Saddest man in Brazil' takes defeat with good grace, handing replica trophy to German fans
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
News
The garage was up for sale in Canning Place Mews for £500,000
newsGarage for sale for £500,000
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Mobile App/IOS Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC)

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Mobile App/IOS...

Front End Developer-JavaScript, Angular J.S, HTML, CSS, ASP.NET

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front End Deve...

Associate CXL Consultant

£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

Associate CXL Consultant

£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil