COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Communications Bill to be debated in new web forum

Voluntary groups and individuals can debate new laws online with MPs and peers for the first time.

From 10 June, groups can send in their opinions on the new Communications Bill, currently at draft stage, by posting their comments to www.commbill.net.

The responses will be summarised twice weekly and fed into the meetings of the joint committee examining the draft Communications Bill. The committee's responses will in turn be summarised and posted on the site.

The pilot initiative runs from 10 June to 8 July and focuses on the Communications Bill, but it is hoped that the model will be taken up for all legislation.

"This is really exciting and will be the first of many online debates on draft legislation,

said Becky Earnshaw of the Hansard Society, which is co-ordinating the scheme.

"It allows individuals from within voluntary organisations, charities and those who are not the 'usual suspects' to have their say. It will make it possible to talk directly to people affected by legislation who may not feel comfortable writing a formal document,

she said.

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