Does Parliament discuss Local Government issues?

So far in 2024 (as at 19th March) there have been 26 debates in Parliament to discuss Local Government issues (by way of comparison, there have been 12 debates on Illegal Immigration, and 16 on Energy Prices).

So, it seems reasonable to conclude that Parliament does discuss Local Government issues, but what issues have been discussed and who's been doing the talking?

You could watch hours of Parliament TV to find out, but to be honest who has the time (or inclination!) for that. We analyse MP's contributions in Parliament (as recorded by Commons Hansard) and present the data in an easy-to-use format on a mobile app so you can see who is saying what about which topics quickly and easily on your smartphone.

The charts below (taken from the Scrutiny Counts mobile app) show the Local Government debates that have taken place so far this year and the date they took place.

Local Government debates in Parliament #1
Local Government debates in Parliament #2

As can be seen from the screenshot charts, there’s a breadth of discussion on Local Government matters ranging from Financial Distress and Funding, Combined Authorities, Mayors, through to Four-day week working. Within the app, there is click-thru functionality which lets you see the full debate content, the MP's who have participated, and the contributions they have made. There's also "share" functionality to enable useful and interesting content to be quickly and easily shared with friends and colleagues

Looking across the past twelve months, there have been over 159,000 words spoken in Local Government debates (measured by words spoken as recorded in Commons Hansard).

Across the debates, Conservative MPs contributed into the debates 66.5%, Labour 22.4% and other parties 11.2% (this compares with the party split by number of sitting MPs of 53%, 30% and 17% respectively).

As can be seen in the "monthly breakdown" area of the chart, after a relatively quiet few months over summer of 2023, the level of debate activity significantly increased during Autumn 23 and early 2024 with February 2024 being a particularly busy month

Local Government debate activity
over past 12 months

Perhaps not unsurprisingly the top contributing MPs in Local Government debates were government and shadow government ministers such as Simon Hoare (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) and Jim McMahon (Shadow Minister (Levelling Up, Housing, Communities and Local Government) with contributions being made in their respective roles.

But aside from Frontbench MP's, who have been the top contributing Backbench MPs in Local Government related debates during the last 12 months? (measured by words spoken as recorded by Commons Hansard)

The charts below show the top contributing Frontbench MPs, and the top contributing Backbench Conservative and Labour MP’s

Top contributing MPs in Local Gov't debates (Back & Front Bench combined)
Top contributing Conservative Backbench MPs in Local Gov't debates
Top contributing Labour Backbench MPs in Local Gov't debates

There are often detailed and constructive contributions into the debates from all the parties. The quotes shown below are taken from speeches given by the two top contributors in the above charts. They both give an insight into the work that MPs do in representing their communities and constituents in parliamentary debates.

Quote extract from speech by Ian Liddell-Grainger during debate on Somerset Council Funding
Quote extract from speech by Dame Meg Hillier during debate on Local Authority Co-operatives support

So, in summary, yes Local Government issues are discussed in Parliament. The news in the mainstream media may focus on the weekly exchanges in PMQ’s, the political gossip of the day, or the topical late night divisions and votes, but in so doing many don’t see the work MP's of all parties do in important debates across a range of subjects such as Local Government, Housing, Social Care, etc.

The contributions in debates are often constructive and well thought through, providing valuable insight for politicians, councillors, and council officers and all those with an interest in Local Government. The debates form an important function in bringing local issues to the national stage and play an important role in our democratic system.

The charts and images in the article are taken from the ScrutinyCounts mobile app which is available via subscription on Apple AppStore and Google Playstore.

The app uses data as reported in Commons Hansard and presents it in an easy to digest format which enables users to quickly and easily read what MPs are discussing in Parliament. Its quicker and easier to use than ParliamentTV and lets you see what is being said without any bias or spin which so often permeates through mainstream media reporting.

To see how to navigate to the topics of interest such as Local Government in the ScrutinyCounts mobile app, watch this short (50 seconds) "How To" video on YouTube (see link)

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