Early Day Motions (EDMs) are used to publicise the views of individual MPs and groups of MPs on a wide range of topics, some exceptionally serious, some frivolous: for example, “That this House commends the black pudding makers of Stornoway for their distinctive and high quality Black Pudding” — EDM 2411.
Printing and publishing EDMs in 2005-2006 apparently cost £627,000, excluding editorial preparation and electronic publication costs. Thousands may be raised in one session, so no MP can possibly seriously consider them all.
Tabling motions for “an early day”, knowing they will likely never come before the House, seems to me a regrettable use of language, perhaps even a cynical one, much as it is one which has a long tradition.
Therefore, I have decided not to sign EDMs, however important or laudable they may be.
I hope EDMs will be reformed in a package of measures related to the new Back-bench Business Committee. I would like to see “Members’ Motions” which are actually debated by the House and I have written to the Chair of the Committee setting out my views. I have also corresponded with the Chairman of the Procedure Committee on the subject.