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Speaker John Bercow calls order in Middlesbrough
THE Speaker of the House of Commons has urged voters to use their voice to influence Government policy by having their say on parliamentary select committees.
On a whistle-stop visit to the region The Rt Hon John Bercow MP said much of the best work parliament did was scrutinising policy and expenditure, and shared with more than 150 people in Middlesbrough the best ways to get involved.
To suggest new scrutiny topics or ask to submit oral or written evidence, groups or individuals were advised to contact their MP, email or write a letter of no more than 3,000 words. Recommending brevity, Mr Bercow said: “Spit it out and make it clear what you are asking for.”
The MP for Buckingham, who has held the role of Speaker since 2009, visits 12 regions across the country each year to explain his role through the Parliamentary Outreach programme.
“The speaker should not be cooped up and inaccessible to the outside world in a fancy uniform,” he said. He explained that while MPs did not challenge the speaker publically, privately they sometimes confronted himself or one of his deputies complaining that they "had it in for them”.
“I am there to fight for parliament. I do not lose sleep about being moaned at behind my back, if I did I would never sleep,” he added.
During his visit to the North-East he addressed students at Durham University, Hartlepool College and Darlington College as well as at Middlesbrough Teaching and Learning Centre at a talk called “How to Win Friends and Influence MPs” with Middlesbrough MP, Andy McDonald.
As a former solicitor and now member of the Justice select committee, Mr McDonald said subjects he had helped investigate included women in custody, the future of Dartmoor prison and changes to the legal aid system.
“Since being on the committee I have had my eyes opened," he said. "It’s always a privilege to be a member of parliament but to see the workings of Government and see how we hold it to account is a huge privilege, especially in my home town of Middlesbrough.”
For more information about select committees visit www.parliament.co.uk
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