To mark 20 years since the signing of the Belfast Agreement, this special issue of Parliamentary Affairs explores a range of critical topics surrounding the event, including the sustainability of peace, why politicians should question the utility of one-sided assetions of the past, and the impact of the Agreement on women’s rights.
- Are Discretionary Referendums on EU Integration Becoming ‘Politically Obligatory’? The Cases of France and the UK
Aude Bicquelet, Helen Addison
- Participation in Local Elections: ‘Why Don’t Immigrants Vote More?’
- The Conservative Party Leadership Election of 2016: An Analysis of the Voting Motivations of Conservative Parliamentarians (editors’ choice)
David Jeffery, Tim Heppell, Richard Hayton, Andrew Crines
- Committee Hearings of the UK Parliament: Who gives Evidence and does this Matter?
- The Politics of Welshness: A Response to Bradbury and Andrews
- The Development of the Treasury Select Committee 1995–2015
Saskia Maureen Rombach
- Advice Giving and Party Loyalty: an Informational Model for the Socialisation Process of New British MPs
- Votes At 16: New Insights from Scotland on Enfranchisement
Special collection: Twenty years after the Good Friday / Belfast Agreement
Guest editor: Peter Shirlow
- Twenty Years after the Belfast Agreement
- Between Conflict and Peace: An Analysis of the Complex Consequences of the Good Friday Agreement
- Truth Friction in Northern Ireland: Caught between Apologia and Humiliation
- Contested Space, Peacebuilding and the Post-conflict City
- One Step Forwards, Two Steps Back: Women’s Rights 20 Years after the Good Friday Agreement
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Lord Frost’s appointment as Minister of State in the Cabinet Office to lead on UK-EU relations brings some welcome clarity about future government arrangements in this area. However, it also raises challenges for parliamentary scrutiny, above all with respect to his status as a Member of the House of Lords.
There was controversy on 9 February over whether the government had used procedural trickery to swerve a backbench rebellion in the House of Commons on a clause inserted in the Trade Bill by the House of Lords. Apparently, it was something to do with ‘packaging’. What does that mean, and was it true? The answer is all about ‘ping-pong’.
The contrasting post-Brexit fates of the two Houses’ EU-focused select committees have come about through processes in the Lords and the Commons that so far have differed markedly. This difference reflects the distinction between government control of business in the Commons, and the largely self-governing nature of the Lords.
Before Brexit, mechanisms for inter-parliamentary relations and scrutiny of inter-governmental relations in the UK were unsatisfactory. Post-Brexit, the need for reform has become urgent. There should be a formal inter-parliamentary body, drawn from all five of the UK’s legislative chambers, with responsibility for scrutiny of inter-governmental working.
The end of the transition period is likely to expose even more fully the scope of the policy-making that the government can carry out via Statutory Instruments, as it uses its new powers to develop post-Brexit law. However, there are few signs yet of a wish to reform delegated legislation scrutiny, on the part of government or the necessary coalition of MPs.
Parliament’s role around the end of the Brexit transition and conclusion of the EU future relationship treaty is a constitutional failure to properly scrutinise the executive and the law. As the UK moves to do things differently after 1 January, MPs must do more to ensure they can better discharge their responsibilities regarding the making of UK treaties.