Public Affairs: Soap Box - John Lehal, managing director, Insight Public Affairs

In the new Parliament, backbenchers will enjoy greater powers over the Government than ever before. A number of important changes to increase the power of Parliament over the executive are already in motion.

A series of pre-agreed alterations to select committees will soon kick in, with MPs electing select committee chairs and members by secret ballot - and fewer MPs sitting on each. These are welcome changes, transferring power from the whips, but they are ad hoc and piecemeal.

If backbench MPs are to effectively hold the executive to account, more needs to be done. Select committees should hold more confirmation hearings for appointments. The Public Accounts Committee should be given more powers to examine the Government's budget. How about a backbench Business Committee to decide what gets debated on the floor of the House? It would allow greater time to be allocated to the scrutiny of government legislation, putting more power in the hands of MPs.

Our new MPs must be part of a powerful Parliament. It is likely that deputy PM Nick Clegg and Leader of the House Sir George Young will have overlapping remits in terms of House reform. There has been much talk of strong and stable, but Clegg and Young must also be radical and modernising.

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