Select committee reform over the last 40 years has been a stop-go process. Here, the Clerk of the Liaison Committee during its recent 40th anniversary inquiry traces the phases in the story and identifies the set of factors that seem to work for or against reform each time.
A former Clerk of several House of Commons select committees looks back over 30 years at how the tempo of their work has changed, and asks whether the increase in their resources and activities can or should continue indefinitely.
The Supreme Court’s judgement that the government’s prorogation of Parliament was unlawful was due in part to concern that the legislature’s ability to scrutinise Statutory Instruments would be compromised. But as ‘exit day’ nears, and with a new, shorter prorogation planned, the inadequacies of the parliamentary scrutiny process for SIs become ever starker.
The Supreme Court’s 24 September nullification of the prorogation that had at that point been underway presented Parliament with a procedural and record-keeping problem. Here, the Clerks of the Journals in the two Houses explain how it was resolved.
In its recent landmark report, the House of Commons Liaison Committee recommended a widening of the circle of those that select committees should hold to account, and a turn towards the public in all committee activity, but also tighter links between select committees and the House of Commons Chamber.
The House of Commons’ last business before it was controversially prorogued on 9 September was the announcement of Royal Assent to the Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Act 2019. Just as the UK’s parliamentary democracy was being questioned, a significant step forward was taken to safeguard the building that both houses and symbolises it.
At the start of a new Parliament a series of ceremonies and procedures must take place before the Members of the two Houses can get down to business. Our special collection of procedural guides takes you through them. We start with some things to look out for at the highly unusul start of the 2019 Parliament on 17 December.
A set of laws, conventions and Standing Orders govern how and when a Parliament starts and ends, how it is divided into sessions and sitting periods, and what ceremonies and procedures take place at different points. This guide takes you through them.
State Opening, with the Queen’s Speech at its centre, is the key ceremonial and constitutional event at the start of a new session of Parliament.
A number of different individuals and bodies provide leadership in each House. They have important powers and responsibilities, ranging from the administration of each House to stewardship of parliamentary business and procedures. This guide takes you through them.
Select committees are one of the key ways the two Houses of Parliament hold the government to account. They are also important bodies for Parliament’s engagement with the public.
Private Members’ Bills are bills introduced by MPs and Peers who are not government ministers. They provide backbenchers with an opportunity to address public concerns and to set a policy agenda that is not determined by the executive. But the procedures, often a source of controversy, are different to those that apply for government bills.
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.
From finance to healthcare, technology has transformed the way we live, work and play, with innovative solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. Can it also have a role in how we make our laws?