Letter: Parliamentary reform

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The Independent Online
Sir: Fran Abrams (report, 16 October) is too gloomy in her assessment of House Magazine's survey of new MPs and their likely attitudes towards reforming the House of Commons.

Reform, if it is going to happen, will be led from the top, not by the new recruits. The Government has shown remarkable zeal in setting about modernising Parliament. They set up the Select Committee on Modernisation which was appointed on 4 June and 49 days later produced, under the leadership of Ann Taylor, the Leader of the House, a unanimous report running to 102 paragraphs detailing a comprehensive programme of reform of the procedures of the House.

Perhaps the conformist tendencies shown among the new MPs are due to their previous involvement with the system: the House Magazine report also revealed that 20 per cent of them had worked in public policy jobs before entering Parliament. The newcomers will show their radical tendencies or not through their responses to what their established colleagues produce by way of reform, not by what they do themselves. So far the signs are promising.

DAVID TENCH

Amersham, Buckinghamshire

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