number10gov Why do Gov’t Joint Committee’s ask for public opinions if they don’t want them?

Email from “Unlock Democracy”

You may have spotted on the internet that one of the members of the Joint Committee looking into the draft House of Lords Reform Bill, Lord Norton [1], is claiming that they have only received 22 written submissions.

This simply isn’t the case. In response to our campaign last year, over 4,100 people took part in our survey and over 2,400 people separately wrote their own submission, entirely in their own words. We even submitted the ones from people who didn’t want reform.

We encouraged people to submit their views in this way because we were asked to do so by the clerks. Indeed, the committee made it clear that they would not accept submissions from individuals unless they submitted them both on paper and by email – a completely unnecessary act of bureaucratic nonsense. Having jumped through their hoops, it is quite repugnant to now see certain committee members claiming that means your views don’t count.

We’ve taken this matter up with the committee’s clerks and they have assured us that they have read your submissions and that your name will be published as a respondent (unless of course you don’t want it to – in which case please reply to this email and let us know).

It is unfortunate that a member of the committee feels they can play games like this but it just goes to show that they will say anything to try and stop democratic reform of the House of Lords.

All the best,

Peter Facey

Director, Unlock Democracy

[1] Lord Norton’s blog post can be found here: http://lordsoftheblog.net/2012/01/09/stirring-up-apathy-2/

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