The House of Lords Economic Affairs Select Committee has today published a report stating that the antipated £50bn price tag of HS2 has ‘no convincing case’. This is an excellent example for a wide range of reasons. Firstly, you should know that Select Committees in the Lords are notably different from those in the Commons – only the Commons committees directly shadow the work of a Department (usually identified by the fact they are named after that Department). The Lords Select Committees are often more broad in their scope. This is however a good example of scrutiny and importantly an excellent example from the House of Lords.
It is also important to note that this made front page news on the BBC News website. many students fall in to the trap of commenting that Parliament is weak at scrutiny as the media is better. This is a misunderstanding of the system: in this case, one of the key ways that Parliament can scrutinise the government is by releasing such a report and hoping that the mainstream press take up the case so that their recommendations can get more support fro the public. In this way, Parliament is still being effective at scrutiny but is using the media to effect this scrutiny.
There are two other links included – one regarding Commons and one regarding pressure groups. Whilst these articles are older than the Lords one today, the do show how Commons can scutinise too, and in particular the Public Accounts Committee, as well as the impact that Pressure Groups have tried to have over HS2.