MPs court bid for answers fails

Should there be a legal redress to enforce answers to questions in the public interest.

  • No. Select committees should be further empowered to deal with this

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Yes. It should be via the High Court

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Yes

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    0
#1
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6098708.stm

The courts cannot force ministers to give proper answers to questions from MPs, a High Court judge has ruled.
The court heard Lib Dem MP John Hemming was concerned they could "duck, weave and not answer" queries, while the government did little to stop it.

Listing 12 ministerial responses he considered to be poor, he said a court needed to enforce proper answers.

But the judge refused his request for a judicial review, saying the ministerial code had to be enforced by Parliament.

'Flawed and evasive'

MPs can ask questions of ministers about policies, with replies usually received two weeks later, to allow detailed replies to be prepared.

Mr Hemming, MP for Birmingham Yardley, highlighted 12 of his queries on subjects ranging from overspending on NHS drugs, the financial position of millennium projects, gas imports, climate change and increases in council tax.

He said he received flawed, partial, evasive and sometimes misleading responses and argued the prime minister had failed to stop this.

Mr Hemming said that when he had complained about it in the Commons, the Speaker of the House of the Commons had said it was not a matter for him.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6098708.stm


Should the courts have the power to enforce an answer to questions when they are considered in the public interest?
 
#2
The courts should have the power PTP but in a country that is corrupt to the very top (a fact very obvious when you consider the impending questioning re: cash for peerages scandal that somewhat heavily involves Tony Blair allegedly) it would take some really squeaky clean and hardened ethical types to resist temptation/ pressures from the government etc and actually fulfil their roles as "enforcers of the truth".

I'd truly love to see it happen but don't think it will in my lifetime!
 
#3
I don't agree, Parliament should be the highest authority in the land, they are, after all, our elected representatives. MPs should be able to get honest answers from ministers and if not there should be a system in pklace to force them to answer, failing that removal from the commons.
 
#4
But who decides whether a question is in the public interest? A very dangerous precedent to set.
 

elovabloke

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#5
petite_butsweet said:
The courts should have the power PTP but in a country that is corrupt to the very top (a fact very obvious when you consider the impending questioning re: cash for peerages scandal that somewhat heavily involves Tony Blair allegedly) it would take some really squeaky clean and hardened ethical types to resist temptation/ pressures from the government etc and actually fulfil their roles as "enforcers of the truth".
I'd truly love to see it happen but don't think it will in my lifetime!
My bold. Sounds like just the job for all those find upstanding ex WO's. Same pay a the twwwwwaaatttsss at Westminister to stop any need for bungs. 8)
 
#6
No I do not think judges should be allowed to compel MPs to answer questions since the rules of the Houses of Parliament are not set down in Statute - nor common law. The rules governing procedure can only be subject to judicial ruling if they are in breach of legislation e.g. Equality and Diversity. Did this MP invoke a specific piece of legislation that he felt applied, to compel an answer?

I believe that most information would be accessible through Fredom of Information requests. However I would support a strengthening of the powers of select committees in order that they could compel testimony, this would go a long way to improving openness in government.
 
#7
Postie said:
No I do not think judges should be allowed to compel MPs to answer questions since the rules of the Houses of Parliament are not set down in Statute - nor common law. The rules governing procedure can only be subject to judicial ruling if they are in breach of legislation e.g. Equality and diversity. Did this MP invoke a specific piece of legialtin that he felt applied to compl an answer?

I believe that most information would be accessible through Fredom of Information requests. However I would support a strengthening of the powers of select committees in order that they could compel testimony, this would go a long way to improving openness in goverenment.
I agree - especially with empowering select committees
 
#8
I believe that most information would be accessible through Fredom of Information requests. However I would support a strengthening of the powers of select committees in order that they could compel testimony, this would go a long way to improving openness in government.[/quote]

Good point there!
 

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