Author : Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Administration Committee
Publisher : The Stationery Office
Release : 2012-05-23
ISBN-13 : 9780215045225
Page : 96 pages
Rating : 4.5/5 from 225 voters
Approximately 1 million people enter the parliamentary estate every year as visitors rather than as Members or staff of the two Houses of Parliament. The two Houses must balance the business needs of a fully working legislature and those of a visitor attraction. Parliament is first and foremost a working institution, and that implies clear principles for how access is organised. Democratic access to the work of Parliament must remain free and open, enabling any citizen, at least so far as physical space allows, open access to sittings in the two Chambers, in the Committee Rooms and in Westminster Hall, or to meet their Member of Parliament. Considerable work needs to be done on how the visitor attraction part of Parliament is best operated, not least in persuading some reluctant Members and staff of both Houses and an often instinctively negative media to recognise the difference between democratic access to the work of the place and interest in its heritage and tourism aspects. The central idea that has emerged in this inquiry is that two conceptions of Parliament are required: the working institution and the visitor attraction. The two should be complementary, not in conflict, and some of the tensions that presently arise from, for example, queues outside the building and the consequent delay of business meetings for Members and others would be resolved if the two concepts were more rigorously held apart.