When parliamentarians reassemble at Westminster on 7 November for the start of the new Session, all eyes will be on the legislative programme to be announced in the King’s Speech. Speculation about the likely date of the next general election is rife at Westminster, but until the date is settled there are a lot of parliamentary issues still to be tackled. We’ve picked out a few things to look out for on the political horizon.
The multi-billion-pound refurbishment of the Palace of Westminster presents an opportunity that comes once in a century-and-a-half to reform the leading institution of our democracy and its environs. What principles should shape reform of its culture and practices? How can innovation blend better with tradition? And how might public engagement be enhanced?
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.
Austria’s Parliament moved back into its fully renovated building at the start of 2023, less than six years after it moved out wholesale in Summer 2017. The renovation project, which was managed by parliamentarians and the Parliamentary Administration, overran original plans in terms of both costs and time, but it seems to have enjoyed notable levels of cross-party consensus and public support.
In coming days Parliament is due formally to enable the abolition of the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body, the previous independent client body for Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal (R&R). But, as parliamentarians overturn the R&R governance structures and take back control of the project, the debate is still the same: stuck on the question of vacating the Palace during the works.
Dealing with the economic crisis will be the most urgent task when parliamentarians reassemble at Westminster on 5 September 2022, with a new Prime Minister taking office the following day. What will this mean for parliamentary business in the coming months, and what scope will there be to tackle other issues? We pick 10 things to look out for.