We need to overhaul Parliamentary answer processes


CrossrailA couple of weeks ago a Labour member of the House of Lords asked a rather simple and basic question and got what could be described as an absent answer. The person who asked the question is Alan West, Baron of Spithead and his question was “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what they expect will be the final total cost of the Crossrail project; and when the line is expected to open”. Inevitably the Government Department that was being asked the question has already shown itself to be incapable of answering many questions as explained in several of my recent blogs that relate to a question about Chris Graylings behaviour in early March this year. So given that Elizabeth Sugg, Baroness of Coldharbour who is the well paid member of the House of Lords and junior Minister of the Government who failed to answer questions set out by Steve Bassam, Baron of Brighton in the past it is perhaps not a deep shock that she took the same approach on this later question. Her answer was “Crossrail Limited, the organisation responsible for delivering the project and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Transport for London, are working to establish a robust delivery schedule to gain certainty regarding the opening plan for the Elizabeth line and the final cost of the project. The anticipated final cost of the Crossrail project is yet to be confirmed”. Given that this sort of answer would not be accepted by the Government if they were asking a supplier, or from a contractor if asked by their client it should certainly not be acceptable if the Government is accountable to Parliament as theoretically it is. We need a way of holding the Government to account for failing to answer questions. Of course the alternative is we close down Chris Graylings Department, sack him and Baroness Sugg and set up a new Transport Department that is capable of answering a few questions and delivering its promises!

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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