Coalition opens up lawmaking to public

By staff

Ordinary members of the public are able to participate in the clause-by-clause formation of legislation from today.

A pilot public reading stage is taking place for the protection of freedoms bill, published last week by ministers, which seeks to address the rollback of civil liberties seen under the New Labour government.

Comments submitted on individual clauses will be studied by ministers after they are left at the public reading stage website.

A committee of MPs will then study the comments and use the public’s contributions to inform their scrutiny of the legislation.

Prime minister David Cameron said the way laws have been made until now “shuts out countless people across the country whose expertise could help”.

“Our new public reading stage will improve the level of debate and scrutiny of bills by giving everyone the opportunity to go online and offer their views on any new legislation,” he added. “That will mean better laws – and more trust in our politics.”

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said the shift was an important part of the government’s plans to transform Westminster “from a closed political system to an open one”.