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  1. Politics
24 November 2009

PMQs should be held twice a week

Two rounds of PMQs a week would increase accountability

By George Eaton

The shadow leader of the Commons, Sir George Young, has suggested that Prime Minister’s Questions should be moved to Thursday evenings to allow more people to watch it.

The “bicycling baronet” has a point. How many people, other than political journalists, can take half an hour out of their day to watch PMQs on a Wednesday? It’s also a smart way to ensure MPs don’t hurry back to their constituencies early on Thursday.

But if MPs really want to increase scrutiny of the executive they should return to having two 15-minute sessions a week rather than the one half-hour session introduced by Tony Blair in 1997.

As my former PoliticsHome colleague Nick Assinder has argued, the move to one weekly session limited accountability by ensuring that anything that happened after Wednesday couldn’t be raised in the chamber for a week. Reintroducing the shorter sessions would also allow less time for questions planted by the whips.

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Gordon Brown should steal a march on Cameron and introduce this reform before Young’s proposals are taken up by the Tory leader.

 

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