‘Erskine May’, the authoritative guide to Parliament’s procedures and practice, went online on 2 July. The move has significant implications for democratic transparency and for Parliament’s interaction with the public. Here, one of the editors of the new edition, Clerk of the Journals Mark Hutton, explains why and how the innovation came about.
Some backbench MPs are seeking to use House of Commons approval of the government’s Main Estimates for 2019-20 as a vehicle against a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, meaning the process is attracting greater interest than usual. We set out how the Estimates process works, how it has changed over the years, and how it could be improved in the future.
On the 40th anniversary of the creation of departmental select committees, Harriet Harman, the longest continuously-serving woman MP, offers some personal reflections on the growing importance of select committees and their chairs, particularly at a time of considerable political instability.
As an elector in Brecon and Radnorshire, Hansard Society Trustee Sir Paul Silk sets out 12 shortcomings he observed in the recall petition process that led on 21 June to the triggering of a parliamentary by-election in the constituency.
The focus is on what might happen at the end of the pre-summer Commons sitting period now underway – rightly, given its potential political and constitutional significance. But the dearth of government legislative business means the six weeks before then could present opportunities for the opposition, backbenchers and select committees, including on Brexit.
Coming on top of the controversial introduction of the concept of ‘retained EU law’ in the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018, the provisions for an implementation / transition period in the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement pose challenges for UK law that the promised Withdrawal Agreement Bill will need to address, including through amendments to the 2018 Act.
In our April 2019 submission to the House of Commons Liaison Committee inquiry into the select committee system, we made wide-ranging recommendations including a review of the select committee core tasks, and a restructuring of the system to provide for improved scrutiny of delegated legislation and legislative standards and to accommodate post-Brexit needs.
Find out what the public thinks about politics, politicians, political parties, the system of governing, and more in our latest Audit of Political Engagement.
What are the issues that need to be considered when determining the processes and procedures for indicative votes? This briefing looks at how the options might be chosen, the structuring of the decision-making process, and what the rules need to address, as well as voting methods and criteria.
In November 2018 the House of Lords Liaison Committee published our evidence to its review of investigative and scrutiny committees. We made wide-ranging recommendations aimed at improving legislative scrutiny, facilitating more effective horizon-scanning and addressing post-Brexit scrutiny challenges.
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.