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Should select committees be able to compel attendance?

New proposals risk blurring the line between parliament and the courts

By Alexander Horne  

Bailey-Cooper Photography / Alamy Stock Photo

Parliament’s select committees are one of its success stories. Committee hearings can be both enlightening and great theatre, and they can sometimes throw light on serious issues that have been overlooked by the government or regulatory agencies. Nonetheless, the question of whether committees have adequate powers has been considered repeatedly over the last few decades.

On 3rd May, the Commons Privileges Committee published a new report on select committee powers, looking to strengthen the ability to call for persons, papers and records. One of the reasons for this is a number of high-profile cases in the Commons in…

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