Effectiveness in the House of Commons since 1997
in Parliamentary reform at Westminster
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Norton (2000) outlined three conditions that must be met before effective parliamentary reform may proceed. The first necessary condition is a window of opportunity in which reform can take place. Second, there has to be a coherent reform agenda in place that provides a package behind which MPs might organise. Third, leadership must exist to exploit the window of opportunity and promote the reform agenda. In the summer of 1998, Charter 88 complained of the ‘disappointingly slow’ pace of reform and the ‘extremely cautious’ nature of the Modernisation Committee's recommendations. The Liaison Committee, under the chairmanship of Sir Terence Higgins, used its 1997 report on the work of the select committees as an opportunity to explore the issues in greater depth. This chapter examines effectiveness in the House of Commons since 1997, focusing on various reports prepared by the Liaison Committee, the Commission to Strengthen Parliament, and the Hansard Society Commission on Parliamentary Scrutiny. It also discusses the support of the Labour Party led by Robin Cook to institute reforms in the House of Commons.

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