Well, this would be interesting. One of the proposals in the Ken Clarke’s Conservative Democracy Task Force report (PDF) is to guarantee a debate in Parliament (well, Westminster Hall anyway) if enough people sign a petition. It’s a proposal which has won immediate favour with David Cameron:
Promising to examine the proposals in detail before deciding which will be included in the Party’s election manifesto, he commented: “I would like to see a system whereby, if enough people sign an online petition in favour of a particular motion, then a debate is held in Parliament, followed by a vote – so that the public know what their elected representatives actually think about the issues that matter to them.”
There’s also a reference to ‘full-blooded entry into on-line activities’, in the context of radio and TV coverage. Perhaps with that in mind, half an hour’s video from the report’s launch is available on YouTube.
I don’t entirely buy into their notion of ”interspersing clips from speeches in the Chamber or from Select Committees with round-table discussion and a suitably monitored chatroom’; for me, a better ‘on demand’ video function for Select Committees would be a great start. So much great stuff from great people, generally much more enlightening than any confrontational Commons debate, and we never even know it’s there, never mind getting round to hunting it down.