Thursday 30 December 2021

Why a hemisphere chamber is a good idea.

 Last week I mentioned how to improve our democracy a hemisphere parliamentary chamber, along with a Separation of Power, would be an important ingredient.

Today in the papers, through the release of government papers, I read that the Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown wanted to redesign the Commons chamber into a hemisphere as symbol of his party's joint reform agenda with New Labour. He was keen to expand cooperation between the two parties - dubbed 'The Project' - following Blair's 1997 election win.

He wrote to the PM explaining his belief that reshaping the chamber, as a hemisphere, would recognise the new culture of 'consultation, pluralism and debate' which he hoped to inaugurate.

Not surprisingly it met with little enthusiasm in No 10. Jonathan Powell wrote to Blair; ' I can't believe he has proposed a hemispherical Commons. Are you sure you want to go ahead with this project?' 

We of course now know the answer to that question.

In and around the whole question of our third demand 'A Separation of Power' it is really important to grasp the constitutional role of an MP, which is to make and scrutinize laws, and realise the role they currently perform, of glorified constituency social worker, is not what they are paid to do.

Much if not all current MP's constituencey work load should be carried out by enhanced local politicians  (our second demand - Real Local Government) leaving MPs to concentrate on national issues and holding the executive to account.

Having a hemisphere shaped chamber would be a clear sign that our democracy was open to real reform.    

Monday 20 December 2021

We need a democratically elected Prime Minister.

 As the problems continue to mount for Boris Johnson, I cannot but help think about our third demand ‘A Separation of Power’ which would see our cabinet or executive sitting outside parliament and a Prime Minster who was elected by a popular vote.

Currently party leaders are in the main selected by their parties but if and when they become Prime Minister, they get voted into office on the back of a number of considerations not directly related to their own individual ability including: -

1.    The party the majority want to win the election.

2.    The party the majority don’t want to run the country.

3.    The personality and ability of individual MPs in each constituency.

4.     Finally, the comparison and abilities of the respective party leaders.

In the last election all these considerations came into play in that the majority didn’t want Corbyn or his Labour party and preferred Boris and the Conservatives.

We cannot discount the ‘Boris’ effect but it is certainly also true Corbyn’s Labour lost the election.

I have no problems with parties choosing their leaders but I object strongly to them becoming Prime Ministers without an election as Major did from Thatcher, Brown from Blair, May form Cameron and initially Boris from May.

However, having said that I also strongly favour potential Prime Ministers standing for that position at General Elections in their own right.

A further ingredient to ensure all MPs do their primary job of holding the executive to account is to reconfigured our parliamentary chamber in the form of a hemicycle which exists in virtually all other government chambers around the world. This structure encourages cooperation rather than confrontation.

Finally, as an when our governance incorporates a ‘Separation of Power’ with an executive outside parliament and an elected Prime Minister I believe our democracy will be far better served.



1.  Please note that this petition, on the government’s £3 trillion Net Zero policy, is still up and running until April next year which I hope you will support and promote. The aim here is not to debate the Net Zero policy itself but the lack of a democratic mandate for it.

I will pick up posting again in the New Yesr.