Archer picks up tips on parliamentary democracy in UK

| 03/12/2015 | 3 Comments
Cayman News Service

Britain’s House of Commons

(CNS): Cayman’s finance minister is picking up pointers from British MPs on how to make the most of parliamentary democracy under the Westminster system during his time in London as part of the Cayman delegation to the annual Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council (JMC). Officials said that Marco Archer attended a seminar on Parliamentary Practice and Procedure within a Westminster framework. Discussions ranged from parliamentary ethics and standards to the conflicting priorities of constituency, party and parliamentary work.

A Commonwealth Parliamentary Association flagship programme, the annual seminar looks at best practices and how parliaments adapt to changing domestic and global political environments. It is designed to enhance the capacity of the parliamentarians in attendance to create legislation, hold their governments to account and represent their constituents’ interests.

Archer attended sessions on the first day, including an overview of the development of the modern Westminster system and an outline of the specific practical upgrades to its infrastructure that parliament urgently needs.

Just as the Cayman Islands is modernising its Legislative Assembly by putting its authority over the Speaker of the House and the Clerk, so too has Britain. Minister Archer and others heard that recent changes to Parliament’s governance included the creation of the post of Director General to sit beneath and work alongside the Clerk of the House. As in Cayman, the move is a new and developing structure and changes in the way the two work together will inevitably develop.

One session considered the legislative process, specifically amending legislation. The topic at another session was select committees and the influence they have on the behavior of ministries, which will take account of the likely reaction of a select committee when formulating policy. MP Iain Wright concluded that session with the perspective of an opposition select committee chair, reflecting the theme of the day, which was that truly effective accountability should not involve opposition for its own sake; select committees should assess and advise rather than simply criticising.

On Wednesday morning MP Andrew Stephenson opened a discussion on the ways that MPs can raise issues on behalf of their constituents and causes they support.

The afternoon began with an exploration of parliamentary ethics and standards. Sir Kevin Barron MP, the Chair of the Standards and Privileges Committees, set the scene by exploring some of the reputational issues the UK Parliament has suffered in recent years and how this led to reform. In his view, the reform had not been as positive as it might have been, but the benefits of an independent authority were clear.

The seminar continues Thursday and concludes on Friday, 4 December.

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Category: Politics

Comments (3)

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  1. Datisme says:

    Chagos!

  2. Anonymous says:

    zzzzzz another glorified bookkeeper.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Methinks the entire issue with our governance and policing falling apart is indeed a UK plot! The real reason? They’re jealous of our comfortable seating facilities in our House of Assembly which facilitate our legislators sleeping through sessions!

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