Page last updated at 10:18 GMT, Wednesday, 16 June 2010 11:18 UK

Commons backs 'historic' reforms

MPs have approved a series of motions relating to reform of the way the House of Commons goes about its work.

On 15 June 2010, the House agreed without a vote to establish a backbench business committee which will determine proceedings for up to 35 days in the House of Commons and Westminster Hall.

It was one of the key proposals made by the Commons Reform Committee, chaired by former MP Tony Wright, which was set up to restore trust in Parliament following the expenses revelations.

The government accepted a cross-party amendment allocating at least 27 of the 35 days to proceedings in the House rather than Westminster Hall.

Conservative backbencher Peter Bone said it was a "historic moment", adding: "We are taking a huge leap forward with this raft of radical proposals."

The backbench business committee, whose chair will be paid extra in line with other select committees, will be elected by secret ballot and re-elected every session.

Moves to extend the length of service to a whole Parliament were defeated by 263 votes to 171, a majority of 92, while the committee will consist of eight members after a move to expand it to 15 members was defeated by 331 votes to 100.

MPs also approved without a vote plans for the Commons to sit in September for the first time since 2004.

They also agreed that Commons business will begin early next Tuesday, at 11.30am as opposed to 2.30pm, allowing Chancellor George Osborne's Budget statement to be made at around 12.30pm.

You can watch the first half of the debate here.

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