January 2020 Newsletter from John Howell MP for Henley
This is my first newsletter since the General Election and as I write Parliament is in the midst of debating the Queen’s Speech given at the opening of this session of Parliament. The Queen’s speech sets out the programme of legislation that the Government intend to pursue in the forthcoming parliamentary session. In the course of the parliamentary session Bills will be brought forward at different times. Members will debate them, committees will scrutinise them, amendments will be tabled, the House of Lords will also scrutinise and may suggest amendments, and MPs take a final vote. All this work shapes the Bill at the various stages until following the final vote it is sent to the Queen for Royal Assent and then becomes law.
With a large number of new MPs there will be changes in roles in the coming weeks and months to give people new opportunities. Firstly there were elections for Deputy Speakers with candidates from the main political parties put forward. There will then be elections for people to chair the Select Committees. In the House of Commons there is a Select Committee for each government department. Their work is to examine the work of the Department including spending, policies and administration. There are also Bill Committees set up to scrutinise each new Bill laid before Parliament. There are many other roles to be assigned to MPs and the Prime Minister has also indicated that he is likely to make changes to his Ministerial team in due course.
There is also a range of APPGs – All-Party Parliamentary Groups. These are informal cross-party groups providing for discussions on issues of particular interest to members. These groups are essentially run by and for members of both the Commons and Lords, though most also involve individuals and organisations from outside Parliament in their administration and activities. Each APPG has to be re-established following a General Election. I follow the work of a number of APPGs and am vice-chairman of several. This month have been elected as chairman of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), the River Thames APPG, the Fusion Energy APPG and the Digital Currencies APPG.
There will be many key issues up for debate over the coming months. As always I am interested to know the views of constituents on the various topics as they come up for debate. Whether on a topic before the House or something else, if you have an issue that you would like to raise with me please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to me at the House of Commons (House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA) or my constituency office (PO Box 84, Watlington, OX49 5XD) to share your views. If you would like to receive my periodic electronic newsletters, and briefings on specific issues, please visit my website http://www.johnhowell.org.uk and subscribe at the link on the home page. You will also find more about my work on my website which is regularly updated.