Catherine McKinnell MP, Chair of the House of Commons Petitions Committee, sets out how the Covid-19 crisis has significantly increased the public’s use of e-petitions while limiting the House’s ability to debate them. This has prompted the Committee to innovate, to ensure that petitioners’ voices are heard during the crisis.
In a crisis the House of Commons is hamstrung if it is in recess, for MPs are not masters of their own House. While any MP can make representations to the government and the House of Commons Speaker to request a recall, under Standing Orders only a formal request from ministers to the Speaker can actually trigger one.
MPs should take the opportunity to show the government and their constituents that they want to have more say on free trade agreements than they did when the UK was inside the EU.
In Ireland, the Covid-19 crisis collided with a ‘change election’, the formation of a historic coalition government and the ‘end of Civil War politics’. But the pandemic sucked much of the oxygen out of a heightened political atmosphere, and also occasioned the physical relocation of Parliament, challenging the institution’s operation and culture.
The new review of the Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal project opens up a range of different outcomes for the future of the building. However, with the alarming state of the Palace not changed by the Coronavirus, the government should not use the pandemic as an excuse to downgrade or delay the much-needed repairs.
Jersey’s States Assembly was the first legislature in the Commonwealth to hold a full virtual meeting, with all members able to participate, in order to get around the limitations imposed by the Covid-19 crisis. Mark Egan, Greffier of the States, describes how this was achieved and suggests that some of the States Assembly’s Covid-19 innovations may stick.
Politics in Autumn 2020 will continue to be dominated by Coronavirus and the negotiations with the EU, as the end of the post-Brexit transition period approaches on 31 December. But what will this mean for parliamentary business in the coming months, and what scope will there be to tackle other issues? We pick 15 things to look out for.
The Coronavirus pandemic has presented parliaments with significant technical, procedural and political challenges, at Westminster and around the world. This page brings together our Covid-19 content, covering the UK Parliament’s adaptation to the crisis, UK Coronavirus-related Statutory Instruments, and the responses of other legislatures around the world.
In order to incur expenditure the government needs to obtain approval from Parliament for its departmental spending plans. The annual Estimates process is the means by which the House of Commons controls the government’s plans for the spending of money raised through taxation.
Submitting evidence before the House was to take further decisions on its Coronavirus arrangements, we decried the Leader of the House’s decision to end hybrid proceedings and remote voting as "over-hasty, poorly thought-through, unwise and unnecessary". Our recommendations covered House business, risk management, delegated legislation and select committees.
Should the Liaison Committee have as its chair someone who is not simultaneously a select committee chair, and should the identity of that person be determined by the government? The answer to these questions will tell us much about how this cohort of MPs, particularly government backbenchers, view the relationship between Parliament and the executive.
There will be gaps in a new House of Commons’ scrutiny of the government and engagement with the public until the events required at the start of a Parliament have taken place and all the necessary institutions and processes have been re-established. The length of time taken over procedures at the start of a Parliament therefore matters.
Join thousands of young people across the country in one of the oldest and largest civic engagement projects anywhere in the world. Our free resources provide all the materials and guidance you need to recreate the excitement and drama of a real election.
The Audit of Political Engagement is a time-series study providing an annual benchmark to measure political engagement in Great Britain. It gauges public opinion about politics and the political system, and more broadly the health of our democracy.
On 15 October 2019, all nine original candidates to be the new Speaker of the House of Commons participated in a hustings event in Westminster, hosted jointly by the Hansard Society and The House magazine, and chaired by the BBC’s Carolyn Quinn.
On 20 March, Professor Sir John Curtice and a panel of leading commentators outlined their findings at the launch of the first major study of the 2017 general election, ‘Britain Votes 2017’.
Join us for the launch of our new Global Research Network on Parliaments and People, with a keynote speech on ‘Deepening Democracy’ by Baroness Amos.
In a speech to the Hansard Society on 11 October, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP proposed three key reforms for the House: the establishment of the House Business Committee approved in 2010; reform of Private Members’ Bills; and the creation of a mechanism for Members to request a recall of the House.
On 12 September, the day after the EU (Withdrawal) Bill received its second reading in the House of Commons, this major one-day public event brought together leading parliamentarians and legal and constitutional specialists from across the UK to discuss the critical issues raised by the Bill and its prospects in the UK’s parliaments and assemblies.
Join the authors of the 2017 Audit of Political Engagement as they present their findings alongside a panel of leading commentators, and explore how one of the most consequential acts of democratic decision-making ever seen in this country has shaped levels of political engagement across the UK.