Page last updated at 16:43 GMT, Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Evening PM's questions 'would attract more viewers'

Sir George on reforming Parliament

Prime minister's questions could be held on a Thursday evening so more people could watch it, senior Tory MP Sir George Young has suggested.

He told the BBC he favoured moving PM's questions from Wednesday lunchtimes to stretch out the parliamentary week.

"If you had it in the evening more people may watch it when they get home," the shadow Commons leader said.

He also backed a reform proposals to allow MPs to elect committee chairmen and help set the agenda of the House.

He was responding to a report by the cross-party Commons Reform Committee, set up in the wake of the MPs' expenses scandal, whose proposals to strengthen Parliament were published on Tuesday.

Sir George told BBC 2's Daily Politics that parties currently "carve up" select committees and would be "enormously enhanced" by elected chairmen.

"The whips do have an enormous hold on the process - I think that grip should be broken," he said.

"We're committed to this, it will be in the manifesto."

PM's questions - the weekly half-hour showdown between the prime minister, party leaders and other MPs - used to be held twice a week in 15 minute sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But it was changed by former prime minister Tony Blair in 1997.

Last week the Daily Mail reported that Conservative leader David Cameron wanted to move it to Thursdays to keep MPs in London for more of the week - currently many MPs have left for their constituencies by Thursday afternoon.



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