How does Parliament govern itself? Who controls the business and procedures in both Houses? Which individuals and bodies provide leadership, and how are their powers distributed? Do MPs and Peers have sufficient resources to perform their legislative and scrutiny functions?
‘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.
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.
The long-delayed rebuilding of the Palace of Westminster has taken two large steps forward with the publication of key legislation and a public consultation on plans for the House of Commons’ temporary accommodation. However, concerns and confusion remain around the roles of both the government and the public in the R&R programme.
The roles occupied by members of The Independent Group - particularly on select committees, where they retain a number of important posts and command two and a half times as many seats as the Liberal Democrats – could give them more influence than their small, non-party status might normally be expected to accord them.
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