Building a modern House

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The Independent Online
JUST two paragraphs after calling for "650 MPs of the commitment of Frank Field", George Walden castigates the media for daring to question the right of members to "make an honest bob on the side to supplement their pounds 33,000" ("No way to run a country", 30 July). It is sad that he does not appreciate the contradiction in these remarks.

The vastly important and different tasks of policy scrutiny and policy- making evidently call for the fullest energy and devotion by every member honoured to have been entrusted with a seat in Parliament. Naturally, anything which allows MPs to organise their Commons business more robustly and productively is to be welcomed. It must remain clear, however, that the ultimate purpose of such parliamentary reform is to enable members to serve with greater usefulness the interests of the country, not themselves.

With this in mind, George Walden would have done better to have omitted his defence of MPs' extra-parliamentary remuneration and included instead a full implementation of the Nolan Committee's recommendations on outside interests in his otherwise commendable call for a more sensible and modern approach to the workings of our legislature.

Robin Muller

Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire