As reported earlier this week on Uncut, the PLP is considering the formation of a back benchers committee, along the lines of the Tories 1922 Committee.
As George Eaton argued back in May in the New Statesman, this would give a forum where MPs can discuss and debate issues without fear of ministerial interference, stating that:
The creation of a 2010 Committee would go some way to reversing the progressive centralisation of the party under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
The letter from Margaret Beckett which outlined the proposals for the shadow cabinet elections seemed to agree with Eaton’s view, stating:
We believe the PLP standing orders should be re-drafted to recognise the Parliamentary Committee as a body that sits irrespective of whether we are in government or opposition, as a specific vehicle for the views of backbenchers to be put to the leadership on a regular and sustained basis.
In a follow up to Beckett’s letter, Tony Lloyd contacted the PLP again last night with a further proposal for change, based on an existing Tory system. This time setting out a proposal for a Labour parliamentary research unit, based on the Conservative Parliamentary Research Unit (PRU), which according to their website is:
a non-profit making, shared service based in the Houses of Parliament, and provides briefing, research, correspondence and related support to 150 Conservative MPs and front bench peers wholly, exclusively and necessarily in support of their Parliamentary duties.
The party machine seems to be settling in, gearing up for opposition. Looking to ensure Labour MPs are ready to fight the good fight. Making sure the leadership doesn’t get carried away. Ensuring the voices of backbenchers are heard.
All we need now is a leader to hear them.