Back to Business A guide to the start of the new Parliament

The new Parliament will assemble on Tuesday 9 July. Download our guide to find out what will happen in the weeks ahead.

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News / What has Keir Starmer got in common with Robert Redford? - Parliament Matters podcast, Episode 42

The legislative process is underway following the King’s Speech, so what bills are planned? This week, Professor Philip Cowley, an expert on parliamentary rebellions, joins the podcast to discuss managing a mega-majority. Intriguingly, he reveals why Keir Starmer reminds him of Robert Redford.

19 Jul 2024
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Briefings / Back to Business 2024: A guide to the start of the new Parliament

The new Parliament will assemble on Tuesday 9 July 2024, five days after the General Election. This guide explains the ceremonial, legislative, organisational and procedural processes that are engaged at the start of the Parliament.

03 Jul 2024
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Guides / How does Parliament approve Government spending? A procedural guide to the Estimates process

In order to incur expenditure the Government needs to obtain approval from Parliament for its departmental spending plans. The annual Estimates cycle is the means by which the House of Commons controls the Government’s plans for the spending of money raised through taxation.

16 Jan 2023
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Blog / Mock Elections 2024: The results are in!

Results are in for the Hansard Society's nationwide Mock Elections. Thousands of pupils have cast their ballots and the results show that Labour has won the election among pupils across the country, with 27.3% of the vote.

04 Jul 2024
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News / Who will be the stars of the new Parliament? - Parliament Matters podcast, Episode 40

With a 50% new intake and 40% female representation, the latest parliamentary group promises exciting new talent. Renowned journalist and 'Tomorrow’s MPs' watcher Michael Crick shares his insights on the standout figures to watch in the coming years.

07 Jul 2024
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News / Will the parties reform Westminster? - Parliament Matters podcast, Episode 38

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Support / 80th Anniversary Appeal: support our work to make Parliament more effective

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Reports / Proposals for a New System for Delegated Legislation: A Working Paper

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Services / Statutory Instrument Tracker® app

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The evolution of election campaigning

How have election campaign strategies evolved over the past 15 years to shape today's political landscape? This special collection of articles from our journal, Parliamentary Affairs, highlights the increasing sophistication and personalisation of national and constituency-level campaigns. It explores how political parties target key voter groups, leverage constituency visits from party leaders for electoral gains, and increasingly rely on digital campaigning.

Polling clerk outside a polling station in Martinhoe, Lynton, Devon. ©Alamy / Guy Harrop
Acts of Parliament in the Parliamentary Archives, Houses of Parliament, Westminster. (© UK Parliament / Parliamentary Archives)

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We have crafted a cross party solution to tackle a pressing constitutional problem: the growth in government by diktat fuelled by excessive dependence on delegated legislation, the problems with which were illustrated so starkly during Brexit and the pandemic. Our plan would introduce more robust scrutiny procedures to address the democratic deficit and stop Parliament being reduced to a legislative rubber-stamp.

Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, 18 October 2023. ©UK Parliament / Andy Bailey

Support the next generation of MPs after the general election

We are developing a programme of support to better prepare the next generation of MPs to perform their core function as legislators and scrutineers. The House of Commons is a complex institution: MPs need practical and procedural advice and resources, particularly in the early months after the election, to enable them to make the most of their knowledge and skills on behalf of their constituents and the country.

The Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, at Prime Minister's Questions, 13 December 2023. ©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED]

Transform the language and rules of the House of Commons 

We are conducting a review of the Standing Orders, customs and practices of the House of Commons. Since 1945, the government-controlled Standing Orders have been systematically reviewed only six times. This initiative is designed to demystify the way the House of Commons works so that parliamentary procedures and processes are easier to communicate, understand and engage with for both MPs and the public.  

Blog / A House more divided: Practice and procedure in a multipolar Parliament

The composition of the opposition in the new Parliament is very different from that of recent Parliaments, including the period following the Labour landslide of 1997. For the time being at least, we are in a new era of multi-party opposition. What might be some of the procedural implications of this shift?

15 Jul 2024
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Blog / Mock Elections 2024: The results are in!

Results are in for the Hansard Society's nationwide Mock Elections. Thousands of pupils have cast their ballots and the results show that Labour has won the election among pupils across the country, with 27.3% of the vote.

04 Jul 2024
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Blog / How should Parliament handle the Seventh Carbon Budget - and why does it matter?

The Climate Change Act 2008 established a framework for setting carbon budgets every five years. But the role of Parliament in approving these budgets has been widely criticised, including by the Prime Minister. The Environmental Audit Committee has proposed improvements in the scrutiny process to ensure effective climate action, particularly in the context of the UK’s commitment to achieving 'Net Zero' emissions by 2050. These reforms will significantly alter the way Parliament handles the Seventh Carbon Budget in 2025.

18 Apr 2024
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Blog / Creeping ministerial powers: the example of the Tobacco and Vapes Bill

The Government’s flagship Tobacco and Vapes Bill will ban the sale of tobacco to anyone born after 2009. The genesis of the delegated powers in the Bill – dating back a decade - tells an important story about the way in which incomplete policy-making processes are used by Ministers to seek ‘holding’ powers in a Bill, only for that precedent to then be used to justify further, broader powers in subsequent Bills. This ‘creeping’ effect in the legislative process undermines parliamentary scrutiny of ministerial action.

15 Apr 2024
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Blog / Two Houses go to war: the Safety of Rwanda Bill and the origins of the Parliament Act

The Parliament Act is being bandied about in the media again in connection with the Rwanda Bill. This blogpost explains why the Parliament Act cannot be used in relation to the Rwanda Bill and looks at the origins and key features of the Act to place the current debate about the role of the House of Lords in its historical context.

25 Mar 2024
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Blog / What was the problem with House of Commons Standing Orders in the Gaza debate? Forthwithery explained

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Blog / How should Parliament scrutinise new treaties?

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Blog / Why are MPs speaking more often but for less time? Five possible reasons

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Blog / Parliament Buildings: The Architecture of Politics in Europe

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Briefings / Back to Business: Swearing-in

The swearing-in of MPs usually begins the day after the Speaker’s election and can take several days; no other business is generally conducted before the King’s Speech. Why must MPs swear in? They can choose to take the 'Oath of Allegiance' of make a 'solemn Affirmation': what's the difference? How do Members of the House of Lords swear in?

03 Jul 2024
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Briefings / Back to Business: Executive Summary

When will the Government present its first bills after the King's Speech? When will the Government schedule a Budget? Why do departmental spending plans (the 'Main Estimates') need to be approved urgently before the Summer recess? When will House of Commons Select Committees be up and running? If two opposition parties win a similar number of seats at the General Election, how might this affect the functioning of the opposition in the House of Commons?

03 Jul 2024
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Briefings / Back to Business: Setting up Select Committees

The chairs of most House of Commons Select Committees are now elected. But how is the distribution of Select Committee chairs between the parties determined? What is the process for electing the chairs and members ? Will term limits affect any potential chairs? Select Committee seats are allocated to reflect the balance of parties in the House: will the minor parties have any representation?

03 Jul 2024
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Briefings / Back to Business: Parliamentary Calendar - Sessions, sittings and recesses

A General Election in July poses challenges to the normal parliamentary calendar over the Summer. When Parliament sits will affect the timing of some of the key procedures at the start of the Parliament such as the setting up of Select Committees. It will also affect the timing of the Budget. So what will happen with the Summer and party conference recesses?

03 Jul 2024
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Briefings / Back to Business: The Budget and Estimates

The new Government will face a series of financial decisions and procedures that need to be implemented on a tight timetable in its first six months. When will it hold a Budget? How does Parliament scrutinise and approve the Budget and Finance Bill? The departmental 'Main Estimates' need to be approved by MPs before the Summer recess: why, and what will happen if they don't? Might Supplementary Estimates also be needed? And a Spending Review must be concluded by December to inform government bodies of their budget allocations for the start of the next financial year.

03 Jul 2024
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Briefings / Back to Business: State Opening of Parliament and King's Speech

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Briefings / Back to Business 2024: A guide to the start of the new Parliament

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Briefings / Back to Business: Private Members' Bill ballot

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Briefings / Back to Business: Opposition parties

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Journal / The evolution of election campaigning: Insights from Parliamentary Affairs

How have election campaign strategies evolved over the past 15 years to shape today's political landscape? This special collection of articles from our journal, Parliamentary Affairs, highlights the increasing sophistication and personalisation of national and constituency-level campaigns. It explores how political parties target key voter groups, leverage constituency visits from party leaders for electoral gains, and increasingly rely on digital campaigning.

14 Jun 2024
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Journal / Parliamentary Affairs call for papers: Special section on the state of British politics in 2024/5

This call for papers is for a special section of Parliamentary Affairs on the state of British politics in 2024/5. It will identify the key institutions, issues and challenges that need to be addressed by any new Government taking over in 2025, following the general election expected at the end of 2024.

03 Jul 2023
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Journal / Marking 25 years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement – Parliamentary Affairs special collection

To mark 25 years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, we have curated a special collection of articles from our journal Parliamentary Affairs. The articles cover a range of themes, from devolution and the establishment of the Northern Ireland Assembly to peacebuilding, consociation and women's rights.

06 Apr 2023
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Journal / Marking 20 years since Parliament approved military action in Iraq – Parliamentary Affairs special collection

To mark 20 years since the House of Commons voted to approve military action in Iraq on 18 March 2003, we have curated a special collection of articles from our journal Parliamentary Affairs. The articles cover a range of themes from the Hutton Inquiry and the Iraq Dossier to war powers and the Government's use of secret intelligence.

18 Mar 2023
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Journal / Parliamentary Affairs 75th Anniversary special collection on House of Lords reform

To mark the Parliamentary Affairs 75th Anniversary Lecture, delivered by the Speaker of the House of Lords on the topic of reform of the Upper House, we have curated a special collection of articles from the journal archives, exploring Lords reform from unique perspectives and different historical contexts since the journal's inaugural issue in December 1947.

07 Dec 2022
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