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Scrutinise govt dept's
· Their polices, activities and spending
Generally they conduct enquires and publish
reports, to which the govt must respond.
They have been called:
the single most important
weapon of increased
parliamentary influence in
the 20 century.…read more

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Who decides who goes on them?
It is said that they wont chose mavericks just
loyal MP's but this hasn't always shown to be
true ­ independently minded transport
committee in 2000 who were highly critical of
the govt's plan to privatise air traffic control.
They can call for any witnesses and any
documents.…read more

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Ministers arguably become more
Regularly embarrass the govt over things
they'd rather were not brought up. They
have produced a no of scathing reports
Westland and Arms to Iraq
They generate more information for MP's
and Parliament as ministers and civil
servants can be forced to attend.
MP's often work across party lines so…read more

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Diverted attention away from the
Commons, the Chamber has become
lacking in no.'s
Select Committees often lack the time,
resources, staff, expertise, and perhaps
above all, will to be more than an irritant to
the govt.
Often the govt just ignores the criticisms
and recommendations of the committees:
(2000 a joint report criticising arms sales to
They cannot force people to speak…read more

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The balance of party power on the committees
reflects that of the Commons as a whole and so
backbenchers of the governing party are usually
the majority. They generally want to become
front-benchers and so may be unwilling to fully
criticise and make accountable the executive.
Reformers say they need bigger
budgets, stronger powers, and more
capacity to conduct research.…read more


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