Last week I contributed to the Dissolution and Recalling of Parliament Bill during the Committee stage in the Commons.
Earlier this year I sat on a joint committee looking at the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, as promised in our manifesto. The committee published a report and the Government responded, as well as introducing this Bill.
The Bill seeks to repeal the Act, because of the constitutional chaos and Parliamentary gridlock we saw in the previous Parliament over Brexit. The Act was not solely responsible for the chaos, but it clearly did not help.
The Bill will restore the previous arrangements, and the overriding constitutional principles that the government of the day (a) must have the confidence of the House of Commons, and (b) is able to seek a fresh democratic mandate from the British public when this is necessary.
I also supported a new clause proposed by my colleague, Maria Miller MP, that sought to reduce the length of time of an election campaign. In my opinion, the campaigns in recent years have been simply too long, and not in the best interests of voters, candidates or the country as a whole.
The Government, under advice from the Electoral Commission and the Association of Electoral Administrators, currently say that we cannot reduce the present 25 working-day timetable back to the 17 it used to be because of the demands of postal voting and late registration. The Minister did commit to further research as to the costs of long campaigns and what technical measures might allow the campaign period to be reduced.
I am glad that Government will continue its dialogue with MPs in order to ensure effective, responsive and accountable politics, in which the voters are supreme.