Monday, 9 April 2007

Seating in Committees - Westminster & Congress

From the Washington Post - 9th April

"In a seating arrangement reminiscent of boy-girl, boy-girl, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joseph I. Lieberman, the Democratic-turned-independent senator from Connecticut, has mixed things up on the committee dais."

UK Select committees often sit around the horseshoe shaped table [In contrast to Public Bill Committees (formerly 'Standing Committees') - where the Government sides opposite the Opposition in a mini-version of the full chamber] - without segregation according to party.

I have often taken students to Westminster to see Select Committees - unless they recognise the MPs - they often can't tell who represents each party. One of the reasons for this mixing of members, and the bipartisan reports - is that in the Westminster system, backbenchers have learnt that majority/minority reports can easily be ignored by the Government.

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