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
When countries are facing a national health emergency, the work of parliaments is as important as ever: to scrutinise government decisions, to authorise expenditure, to pass legislation. But how are legislatures around the world responding to the challenges posed by the pandemic, and what are the key challenges posed in moving to a ‘virtual’ operation?
On 8 April, responsibility for the Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal (R&R) Programme transfers from the parliamentary authorities to independent governance bodies. This should usher in a new era for the project, but it has been accompanied by persistent rumours that the refurbishment will be downgraded to a short-term programme of minor repairs.
With respect to the importance of delegated legislation, the next stage of the Brexit process is unlikely to be much different from the last. Without urgent, substantial reform of delegated legislation scrutiny in the House of Commons, much of the detailed implementation of Brexit will be done by the executive with limited parliamentary oversight.
The process for getting House of Commons select committees re-established after the general election is so far broadly on track. However, government reorganisation and the Labour leadership contest could yet cause delays and disruption. And this time, there are particular reasons to get committees into place urgently.
Articles in this latest edition cover topics as diverse as political finance regulation, devolution, young people and the EU referendum, candidate campaigning in general elections, the policisation of abortion and the electoral success of women candidates, as well as reflections on the Turkish, Australian, Irish and EU Parliaments.
Schools making up an ‘electorate’ of over 46,000 young people returned their results to the Hansard Society’s 2019 Mock Elections, which were held to coincide with the December general election and continued a series extending back over 50 years. Labour emerged as the clear ‘winner’ of the 2019 mock poll.