Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsI always look at the Chamber and think the Chamber is the great place of the House, this is to me, what belongs to the backbenchers. The vast majority of Members of Parliament are not ministers, and the responsibility of Members of Parliament, apart from handling casework for their constituents, is to come to the Chamber and to probe, question, scrutinise, challenge. However, will the minister confirm that the Health and Social Care Act creates more quangos than the Public Bodies Act abolished? One of the real, main functions of Parliament is to scrutinise Government. Members will do that through questions, both written and oral, so it's not just the questions on the floor of the House.

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 secondsOften, MPs have their own one-to-one meetings with ministers, if they've got a particular local interest, MPs are on select committees, and they hold inquiries, and then, of course, there's the Backbench Business Committee. Since this Parliament started, the Government has given backbenchers 35 days of the parliamentary calendar to schedule for themselves the debates that they want to raise, so that's been a really exciting development and that's kind of really changed the way that Parliament is working. Of course, there'll be emergency items that can be brought the House at times. You know, there could be an emergency statement, big issues that really affect the country, quite rightly.

Skip to 1 minute and 26 secondsParliament has got to reflect, not something next week, but something that's immediate, and that's the power of the Chamber. The Government pursues the work that it is doing, not just to look at the possibility of a British Bill of Rights, but also so that, in future, we will be in a position to deport people who are dangerous to us.

Scrutinising Government

The vast majority of Members of Parliament are not ministers and the responsibility of Members of Parliament apart from handling casework for their constituents is to come to the Chamber and to probe, question, scrutinise, challenge.
Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons

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Introduction to the UK Parliament: People, Processes and Public Participation

Houses of Parliament

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