To mark the 40th anniversary of the creation of departmental select committees, this special issue of Parliamentary Affairs draws together contibutions from House of Commons officials and leading academics on the past, present and future of one of the most significant reforms to the UK Parliament.
Articles available to read for free are marked with a star (☆).
- Departmental Select Committees: The Reform of the Century? – Philip Norton
Pre-history and development
- Reform and Consolidation: A New Perspective on Commons Select Committees 1960–1980 – Philip Aylett
- Select Committee Reform: Shifting the Balance and Pushing the Boundaries – Lucinda Maer
- The National Audit Office and the Select Committee System 1979–2019 – Henry Midgley
The actors and their roles
- A Means to an End and an End in Itself: Select Committee Membership, Parliamentary Roles and Parliamentary Careers, 1979–Present – Stephen McKay, Mark Goodwin, Stephen Holden Bates
- Performing Scrutiny along the Committee Corridor of the UK House of Commons – Marc Geddes
- (☆) Chairing UK Select Committees: Walking Between Friends and Foes (☆) [Open access] – Emma Crewe, Nicholas Sarra
- The Territorial Select Committees, 40 Years On – David Torrance, Adam Evans
- Select Committees: Understanding and Regulating the Emergence of the ‘Topical Inquiry’ – Craig Prescott
- Select Committees: Agents of Change – Adam Mellows-Facer, Chloe Challender, Paul Evans
- (☆) Select Committees and Brexit: Parliamentary Influence in a Divisive Policy Area (☆) [Open access] – Philip Lynch, Richard Whitaker
Involving the audience: participation and engagement
- Between Diversity, Representation and ‘Best Evidence’: Rethinking Select Committee Evidence-Gathering Practices – Danielle Beswick, Stephen Elstub
- How Public Engagement Became a Core Part of the House of Commons Select Committees – Aileen Walker, Naomi Jurczak, Catherine Bochel, Cristina Leston-Bandeira
Reviewing the performance of scrutiny
- Conclusion: So, What Is Good Scrutiny Good For? – Paul Evans
Practitioner: The 2019 University of Oxford Bingham Lecture
- Is the House of Commons Too Powerful? The 2019 Bingham Lecture in Constitutional Studies, University of Oxford – Philip Norton
Enjoy reading this? Please consider sharing it
Disputed parliamentary election results – often taking months to resolve - were a frequent feature of English political culture before the reforms of the 19th century. But how could defeated candidates protest the result of an election, and how were such disputes resolved?
The government has established an independent review of judicial review – but post-legislative scrutiny has not yet been conducted on the previous reform of the system, in the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015. This is typical of the low priority given to post-legislative scrutiny by both government and Parliament.
A large body of Coronavirus-related Statutory Instruments have been subject to limited parliamentary scrutiny. Amid growing concern that Parliament is being sidelined by ministers, this briefing explores the procedural obstacles to effective scrutiny of the Covid-19 regulations, and how these might be addressed
Politics in Autumn 2020 will continue to be dominated by Coronavirus and the negotiations with the EU, as the end of the post-Brexit transition period approaches on 31 December. But what will this mean for parliamentary business in the coming months, and what scope will there be to tackle other issues? We pick 15 things to look out for.
Catherine McKinnell MP, Chair of the House of Commons Petitions Committee, sets out how the Covid-19 crisis has significantly increased the public’s use of e-petitions while limiting the House’s ability to debate them. This has prompted the Committee to innovate, to ensure that petitioners’ voices are heard during the crisis.
In a crisis the House of Commons is hamstrung if it is in recess, for MPs are not masters of their own House. While any MP can make representations to the government and the House of Commons Speaker to request a recall, under Standing Orders only a formal request from ministers to the Speaker can actually trigger one.