Weekly Round-Up :: 23 Jun3 2023

This week, the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) published a report that highlights a lack of transparency on the appointment and activities of non-executive directors in Government. Non-executive directors are appointed from outside Government by Secretaries of State to departmental boards to provide “influence and advice, supporting as well as challenging the executive”. We are concerned by “the lack of consistency, accountability, and transparency” surrounding how these people are recruited. Whilst the Code says that board members should be appointed on merit and through a fair and open process, the report highlights a “small minority” of appointees that appear to have been recruited from within Government or through personal connections. The Committee “remains concerned” by the impact this may have on the ability for non-executives to provide effective challenge to Ministers and departmental boards, and the perception of such appointments on the public’s confidence in non-executives. We need to ensure that the guidelines are updated so that transparency is improved and our government is run on merit, not personal connections.

There have been questions surrounding the democratic principles behind the House of Lords for years and how it could be reformed for 21st century Britain. The appointments made by Boris Johnson in his resignation honours have also called into questions the ways possible Lords are selected. PACAC this week launched a new inquiry into the membership of the House of Lords, including the appointments process, its size, and the role and responsibilities of Peers. The Committee will examine whether the current appointments system produces an effective and trusted chamber and whether the rules governing that process could be improved. The role and powers of the independent vetting body, the House of Lords Appointments Commission (HOLAC) will also be considered. MPs are also seeking evidence on the House of Lords’ relationship to the House of Commons, to understand the extent to which the Lords continues to effectively carry out its role as a ‘revising chamber’.

I was pleased to join Labour in Uxbridge and South Ruislip canvassing in support of Labour’s candidate, Danny Beales. It is clear that people in Uxbridge and South Ruislip were fed up with the circus Boris Johnson had brought to their community. He is someone who’s more concerned with totting up his after-dinner appearances than getting to grips with casework on the challenges his constituents are facing during this cost of living crisis. Being an MP is a serious job and we have a responsibility to all our constituents to represent their concerns in Parliament. Danny Beales will make an excellent representative for the people of Uxbridge and South Ruislip. I wish him all the best in the upcoming by-election and hope to see him join us on the Commons benches shortly.

Today, I was able to visit the Fareshare warehouse. They’re a fantastic organisation which collect surplus food and redirect it to different charities and organisations. They support over 170 organisations, including hostels, day centres, lunch clubs, addiction agencies, young people’s projects and refugee centres, in delivering a food service to those who need it most and giving support on nutrition, food hygiene and more. Millions of tonnes of good food are wasted by the UK food industry every year. At the same time, millions of people are struggling to afford to eat. Fareshare links the two together to ensure that good food is not wasted and instead given to those who need it. I was so impressed by the dedication of those working in the warehouse and am so grateful to them for the work that they do.

If there are issues you want to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing Karin.smyth.mp@parliament.uk or by calling 0117 953 3575.