According to this BBC report, MPs are flexing their muscles over public appointments and demanding more input into said appointments. The Liaison Committee, which comprises the chairs of all Commons select committees, wants MPs to have a greater role in choosing holders of specific posts which either uphold standards in public life, defend the rights of citizens or exercise direct control over the activities of ministers.
Initially, it wants the following appointments to be jointly approved by government and Parliament, with office holders only able to be dismissed before the end of their term with the approval of MPs.
- Chair of the UK Statistics Authority
- Information Commissioner
- Chair of the House of Lords Appointments Commission
- Chair of the Judicial Appointments Commission
- First Civil Service Commissioner
- Commissioner for Public Appointments
- Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life
- Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission
As and aside and taking the first on the list above, why do we need the UK Statistics Authority and the Office for National Statistics? - but again I digress.......
This entire idea is no more than an exercise in 'closing the circle' - ie, we have a body of people guilty of the misuse of public money selecting the head of a department (Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life) that would be responsible for seeking out those guilty of the misuse of public money. They also wish to have input into the appointment of a Chair to a Human Rights Commission who would have no real authority as ultimately any decisions on Human Rights would be decided by the ECHR because of our membership of the European Union. Then of course the 'circle is closed' by the fact that only those who made the appointments would be able to dispense with the services of people they chose in the first place.
Another digress: On the basis that if we have to have all these public bodies (which I don't believe we do - but that belief would be the subject of a separate post) which use public money, then hows about these committees demanding of the appointees, as part of their 'interview', the presentation of a budget for their expenditure and that they justify that budget (and on appointment, be held to it) - or has that little item not occured to these great brains?
MPs have reduced themselves to the status of curs - or as I believe in the use of plain English, dogs, (and some of them are definitely old dogs at that!) whose existence is only possible by the provision of public money. I am reminded of an old saying:
"Money will buy a pretty good dog - but it won't buy the wag of it's tail."
Afterthought: It is about time MPs did some 'MPing' on behalf of us, who they consider their 'subjects'. On the basis that 'MPing' then becomes a verb, then - if I recall the rules of English grammar correctly - verbs must agree with their subjects.