It is time for CCTV in the House of Commons

When TV cameras were first introduced in the House of Commons, MPs were worried that televising debates would reduce the dignity of the chamber. So, to try and protect the dignity of the House the rule was created that only images of the person speaking at the time could be broadcast. How wrong they were.

The level of behaviour by many MPs is now appallingly low. But we have to rely on print journalists to convey a sense of the sexist gestures or the yah-boo jeering from people off-camera. The cameras are not allowed to be used to show, and shame, such anti-social behaviour.

It is as if the CCTV room of a shopping centre is being controlled by the shoplifters. How convenient – just switch off the cameras whenever they might catch someone up to no good.

So, it is time to change the rule. We need to allow any broadcast channel (BBC, ITV, etc) access to all camera feeds in real time. Let their editors decide which images are most appropriate to show, for example to cut to show a gesturing back-bench MP sitting opposite when a woman MP is speaking.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

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