Letter: Awkward questions

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Sir: Your report 'Ministers will not deal with prison inquiries' (31 March) further undermines faith in democratic institutions.

Isn't it odd that the decline in ministerial responsibility to Parliament has occurred at the same time as membership of the Commons has become a career for former 'researchers' and that the pay and allowances of MPs (and peers) have increased enormously?

When, only a few years ago, the majority of MPs were amateur politicians with broad experience of the world and were not supported by expensive secretaries and 'researchers', a parliamentary question or a letter (often handwritten) would strike fear into the civil service and the minister and result in instant


What has gone wrong?

Yours faithfully,


London, WC2

1 April

The writer was MP for Harrow East (1966-70).