Rishi Sunka at Prime Ministers Questions

Fed up with PMQ's

We created ScrutinyCounts because we care about UK Democracy. I actually enjoy reading Parliamentary Debates. I find them topical and relevant, and the input from MP’s is often well researched. I cherish the fact I can read both sides of any given debate, which regularly challenges my preconceptions. Seeing a full argument rather than a soundbite enrichens my understanding. I am a big fan.

But PMQ’s? I cannot stand them. Every morning my alarm goes off just before Alicia McCarthy reports on Yesterday in Parliament on the Today Programme. I switch it straight off when I hear the braying and barracking begin. It doesn’t just irritate me, but it saddens me. It demeans the actors and it insults the intelligence of the listeners. It’s simply a party game.

Sadly the general public is understandably under the impression that PMQ’s is representative of all parliamentary debate. Most people do not realise that PMQ’s is just a single 20 minute session that takes place once a week. The lion’s share of debates are rational, polite and occasionally cooperative, but these are very rarely reported on by the media.

Take the debate on 16th November 2023 in Westminster Hall about Floating Offshore Wind for instance. The first thing to note is that the participation was spread pretty evenly between the Conservatives, Labour and the SNP.

The debate was packed with information about the UK’s current capabilities, and all three parties were consistent in their ambition and optimism about the positive contribution that Floating Offshore Wind (FLOW) could make to the UK’s energy security and also the economy as a developing industry in which the UK has a head start.

These quotes are taken from the debate:

This next quote however is why I juxtaposed my rant about PMQ’s with a description of this FLOW debate:

Westminster Hall debates aren’t about showboating, which is why they often include very interesting well-reasoned debate. But who has the time to watch Parliament TV? I certainly don’t.

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