Those addicted to the weekly Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons will have to adjust their TV viewing habits from today. Under the package of reforms of parliamentary business arrangements Mr Blair will rise to detail his engagements for the day at noon, UK time, instead of the traditional 3pm. This change has been made for two reasons. First, all House of Commons procedure has been moved forward by several hours so that an MP's working day will in future more nearly resemble that of the rest of the population. Second, the government believes that Prime Minister's Questions will get more attention from the public if it is being shown live at around lunch time and will also catch the headlines and editorials of evening newspapers.

Although Robin Cook as Leader of the House has been remarkably successful in pushing through reforms in the Commons, the task of reforming the House of Lords is proving as difficult today as it has been for the last century. In an interview yesterday Lord Irving, the Lord Chancellor, said that it would take a genius to make sense of the range of options for reform put on the table by the Joint Committee of the Lords and Commons set up to make recommendations. Lord Irving's pompous and condescending delivery when talking to mere media interviewers often gives the impression that he considers himself a genius – but although he has the responsibility for bringing about the reform of the Lords he appears unable to make progress with the task.

MONITOR

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