Despatch Box

Comment and analysis from the Hansard Society research team and more.

Rt Hon Keir Starmer MP, House of Commons, 24 February 2022. © UK Parliament / Jessica Taylor

Analysis, insight and commentary on the Westminster Parliament and other legislatures in the UK and around the world, from the Hansard Society research team and leading experts, politicians and parliamentary officials.

Blog / Parliament Buildings: The Architecture of Politics in Europe

Parliamentary buildings are a highly specialised but profoundly significant building type. They function as both centres of political power and work-places for thousands of people, and have wide implications in culture and society. Compared to the traditional cataloguing of architectural styles and Chamber layouts, a new book makes the case for a more diverse and wide-ranging approach to their study.

30 Oct 2023
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Blog / How does a former Head of Government end up on trial for evidence given in Parliament? The case of Austria’s Sebastian Kurz

On 18 October Austria’s former Federal Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, is due to go on trial accused of giving false testimony before a parliamentary investigative committee. In the UK there has been a live debate for some years about what Parliament should do if Select Committee witnesses are thought to have given false evidence. Compared to the UK, how and why are the proceedings of Austrian investigative committees more closely linked to the courts, and what challenges has this posed?

17 Oct 2023
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Blog / HS2 fiasco: What does it mean for Parliament?

The Prime Minister’s decision to cancel the next stage of HS2 has given rise to criticism that once again the Government has ridden roughshod over Parliament. Just over 1,300 hours of legislative time have been spent on four HS2-related Bills over nine Sessions in the last decade. Why has it taken so long and what now happens to that legislation?

15 Oct 2023
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Blog / Hybrid Bills and Parliament: History, procedure and controversies

Two of the UK’s most contested current public projects, the HS2 rail line and the proposed Holocaust Memorial in Westminster’s Victoria Tower Gardens, are both underpinned by a rare and sometimes controversial form of legislation: the Hybrid Bill. What are Hybrid Bills, what are they used for, how do they differ from Public and Private Bills, and what are the procedural and political consequences if a Bill is judged to be hybrid?

15 Oct 2023
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Blog / Does Parliament decide on war? Revisiting the Syria vote 10 years on

Ten years on from the vote against UK military action in Syria, four factors will determine whether the House of Commons gets a say on military deployments in future: whether the Prime Minister thinks a vote is politically or morally required; what the balance of power and opinion is between and within political parties; what prior experiences MPs have of military operations; and the type of operation proposed.

25 Aug 2023
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Blog / Ping-pong and packaging

13 Feb 2021

Blog / Debating 'meaningful votes'

12 Jun 2018

Blog / Whose House Is It Anyway?

12 Oct 2017

Blog / Labour: the 35% solution?

18 Nov 2014