29 April 2013
The Green Party has stepped up its campaign to end the undemocratic special privileges enjoyed by the City Of London, and through it Britain’s financial industries.
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has written to the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, asking him to consider removing the City Remembrancer from the floor of the House of Commons, and to end the Remembrancer’s special privileges in viewing legislation as it is being drafted.
Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, said: “The fact that the City Remembrancer is the only non-MP allowed on the floor of the House of Commons is an historical anachronism*. The presence of the City Remembrancer on the floor of the House of Commons, gives the Corporation of the City of London and, by association, the financial industries, what seems to amount to an undue and undemocratic level of access and representation. No other industry or body has such special access to Parliament.”
The House of Commons library has advised that the rules on access to the Chamber are not a matter of legislation, but under the control of the Speaker.
Natalie noted that the London City elections took place last week, and the votes of the 9,000 were dwarfed, as always, by the 32,000-strong business vote, and that a survey by Bloomberg had shown how unrepresentative the business vote was of the workers, its alleged reason for existing. **
Natalie continued: I’d like to see the Remembrancer excluded from the Commons, as a highly symbolic act that would signal Parliament’s independence from the Corporation and all it represents.
Ms. Bennett added: “The Green Party has been leading the way on campaigning to rein-in the powers of the City of London. It was Labour Party policy until Tony Blair reversed it just before 1997, it has been Lib Dem policy in the past.
“The strength of the arguments for ending this feudal anachronism and bring the City of London within the framework of London – together with the large nestegg of the City Cash, which could be put to the benefit of the people of London rather than the global financial industries – have been clear for more than a century***.
“Removing the Remembrancer from Parliament would be a real start on this process.”
*This dates back to 1571.
*** Since a Royal Commission that reported in 1894.