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A Westminster first?

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Robin Lustig | 12:18 UK time, Sunday, 1 November 2009

It's not often that a mere radio programme can claim to have introduced a genuine constitutional innovation, but with all the talk of allowing ministers in the House of Lords perhaps to be questioned by MPs in the House of Commons, I am reminded of when we did it three years ago.

It was during the Lebanon war. Parliament was in recess, and many MPs were urging that the House of Commons should be recalled so that they could have an urgent debate. They were turned down, so that's where we stepped in.

We got 20 or so of them together, rented a hall just down the street from the Palace of Westminster, and held our own debate. We asked the Foreign Office to supply a Minister to reply, and they came up with Lord Triesman.

So for the first - and only - time, as far as I am aware, in British parliamentary history, a Minister who sat in the Lords was questioned by MPs. Now it seems, Parliament itself might follow our example.


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