The site provides easily accessible records of the UK Parliamentary process, and now contains data going back to 1935.
The immediate benefit for journalists is that the records going back this far are now far more accessible than previously. Previously, the archive data only went as far back as 2001.
For researchers, such as historians and authors, a full and detailed record of major historical events can now be traced and compiled without any need to go to (or pay for) specialist reference sources.
As a political blogger, I will welcome the ability to check up on whether the claims by Politician A about what Politician B said “some time ago” bear any relation to fact. One particular area I am looking forward to digging through is the skewering of John Major’s government by New Labour, and particularly Robin Cook, in the mid-1990s; I want to compare the level (and quality) of debate with the current time.
Please give some constructive criticism on how it could be even better (please note, focussing on design here, we already have a load of feature priorities to deliver). The extension of coverage back to 1935 has involved the import of a large amount of data.
Each speech has a unique web address, and can be referenced individually in online articles. Annotation may also be left on the site by the public.
MySociety also provides a range of other websites designed to strengthen the democratic process. In April a version of TheyWorkForYou.com was launched to cover the Irish Dail at KildareStreet.com. Kildare Street is co-ordinated by John Handelaar, who reported that 9,000 people visited the site during the first month of its existence.
I also have a piece on the Press Gazette site.
Matt Wardman blogs at the Wardman Wire group blog about politics, current affairs and media.