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.
The unprecedentedly long delay in appointing the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) again exposes the extent to which the work of this parliamentary committee is constrained by the executive. Important ISC inquiries, as well as publication of the Committee’s ‘Russia report’, are being held up.
The extensive take-up of remote evidence-taking by House of Commons select committees during the Easter recess is a significant Coronavirus-induced change of practice. It shows how procedural and technological change can help support scrutiny.
The Coronavirus crisis is spotlighting the importance of the House of Commons Chamber in our democratic life. 7-8 May marks 80 years since the Norway Debate, the event which demonstrated this most famously. Over two days of debate, MPs’ performances in the Chamber and a decision to force a division had historic consequences.
Several parliamentary committees scrutinise delegated powers and delegated legislation. But what is the aim of this scrutiny, what standards are applied, and what are the value and limits of Parliament’s role in this aspect of the legislative process?
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.
There have been many calls for Parliament to become ‘virtual’ during the Coronavirus pandemic, using remote working to ensure proper scrutiny of government during the crisis. But how should a ‘virtual’ Parliament operate?
The national effort to tackle the Coronavirus health emergency has resulted in UK ministers being granted some of the broadest legislative powers ever seen in peacetime. This Dashboard highlights key facts and figures about the Statutory Instruments (SIs) being produced using these powers in the Coronavirus Act 2020 and other Acts of Parliament.
The 2017-19 Parliament was, famously, ‘not normal’. Following the 2019 general election, some around Westminster welcome, and want to encourage, a return to normality. But what’s ‘normal’? And will the demands of Brexit, plus a constitutional and procedural reaction against the 2017-19 experience, mean the new parliamentary normal is different from the old?
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.