Don Foster MP*

Voters become Lawmakers with New Online Interactive Legislation

Bath MP, Don Foster has welcomed this Thursday’s launch of a new initiative to involve constituents in helping Parliament to make better laws.

Main ImageFor the first time in Parliamentary history a Pre-Legislative Committee will take evidence which will also be web cast. This dramatic advance goes beyond the wildest dreams of the Levellers, Chartists, Suffragettes, and all the other historic British campaigners for democracy. But it has come about without riot, upheaval or civil war, without even a Reform Bill, simply by using technology to bring power to the people.
Anyone with a PC will be able to view the committee’s proceedings live and e-mail back their own experience and views on how our laws might be amended.
In future, all Bills will have a live evidence-taking stage on-line, by the Parliamentary Pre-legislative Scrutiny Committee. This means that every member of the public will be able to see and hear evidence at the same time as MPs and peers and to e-mail his or her views and experience to make better law.
Don Foster MP says: “This new way of legislating takes us one step closer to becoming a full democracy. For the first time in history every single person in this country will be able to take part directly in making the country’s laws. By a happy coincidence this first ever Pre-Legislative Scrutiny Committee is looking at the Communications Bill.
“This is a great opportunity for the public to use new technology to influence our law making. Instead of the crazy electronic foam of mass emails that pressure groups often squirt at MPs, this new Joint Committee offers the chance of practical e-democracy.”
“I do hope that Bath electors will be participating. It would be good to see the quality of input on a great variety of issues that I receive being channeled directly into Parliament’s committees. The range of contributions, from community groups to the media should encourage serious and diverse participation.”
“All people need to do is go to this Thursday at 10:15am, watch the evidence given by the Independent Television Commission, and send a helpful e-mail to the address which will be displayed along the bottom of the screen. The Committee has chosen times to meet which make it easier for proceedings to be televised live and web cast.”
The e-mails will be received by a Hansard-appointed ‘Mediator’ attached to the Committee who will reply to them, before presenting a report to the Committee the next day, containing all the gems received.
Notes for Editors follow…
Notes for Editors:

The Pre-legislative hearings will take place under a joint committee of Lords & Commons chaired by Lord David Puttnam. Parliament’s web cast will take place on and will be broadcast regularly on BBC Parliament from 6pm on each following Sat. evening.
The Joint Committee has arranged the following public hearings:
Thursday 23 May 10.15 am Independent Television Commission
11.00 am Broadcasting Standards Commission
11.30 am Radio Authority
Monday 27 May 6.15 pm Oftel
7.00 pm Radio communications Agency
7.30 pm Office of Fair Trading and Competition Commission

The Committee expects to hold further public hearings as follows:
Monday 10 June 6.15 pm Monday 24 June 6.15 pm
Thursday 13 June 10.15 am Thursday 27 June 10.15 am
Monday 17 June 6.15 pm Thursday 4 July 10.15 am
Thursday 20 June 10.15 am Monday 8 July 6.15 pm
The Committee expects to concentrate its inquiry on the following themes:
1. The proposed structure, functions, duties and powers of OFCOM, including:
(i) OFCOM's accountability to Parliament;
(ii) OFCOM's proposed relationship with the BBC;
(iii) the relationship between OFCOM and the Secretaries of State;
(iv) proposed statutory provisions relating to OFCOM's dealings with its stakeholders;
(v) the regulatory impact of OFCOM's work and its charging structures;
(vi) the proposals relating to the Consumer Panel; and
(vii) arrangements for transparency in the work of OFCOM.
2. The proposed framework for the promotion of a dynamic and competitive communications and media market in the United Kingdom, including:
(i) proposals relating to media ownership;
(ii) proposals relating to electronic communications networks and services, including access provisions, must carry/must offer provisions and the development of the broadband infrastructure;
(iii) investment in the communications and media market;
(iv) proposals relating to the use and management of the radio spectrum;
(v) the proposed competition powers of OFCOM and their relationship to the powers of the Office of Fair Trading, the Competition Commission and the European Commission; and
(vi) striking the correct balance between the wider interests of the consumer and the provider.
3. The proposed statutory framework for content regulation, including the definitions of licensable content, broadcasting and public service broadcasting.
4. The place of nations, regions, localities, communities and interest groups in the proposed framework.
5. The balance in the proposals between clear statutory provision and "future-proofing" in the light of technological, market and social conditions.
The Committee has given the BBC the opportunity to put their meetings live on their website, thus making law making accessible to millions. This is an ideal way for the BBC to update its public service obligation for the new century. This opportunity allows every elector who can organise access to a PC to help Parliament make better law - which achieves its declared purposes, which avoids unfairness and anomalies and loopholes for expensive lawyers, and which is written in clear, comprehensible English.

This article published: 18/09/2023

Published by Bath Liberal Democrats, 31 James St West, Bath, BA1 2BT. Printed and hosted by JPC Infonet, 2 St Georges Works, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, BA14 8AA. Your Privacy._blank


23 Hospital Beds are at risk in B&NES.


Contact Don
You can e-mail Don through this web site. Click here.


Local Lib Dems
Find out more about your local Liberal Democrats


E-Mail List
Enter your e-mail address in the box below, and we will keep you up to date with what your local MP is up to.

Site Search
Search our database of news stories, by entering keywords in to the box below, and hitting the button!