Themes

Parliamentary scrutiny

Former Foreign Secretary Lord Hague, his former Special Advisor Baroness Helic and UN Special Envoy Angelina Jolie give evidence to a House of Lords select committee, © UK House of Lords/Helen Jones (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A core function of Parliament is the holding of government to account through effective scrutiny, including of policy-making and implementation, and the use of public money. At Westminster, scrutiny mechanisms include parliamentary questions and select committees. How well do such scrutiny mechanisms work, and how might they be improved?

Blog / How should Parliament scrutinise new treaties?

Today, for the first time in its history, the House of Lords will discuss a motion that the Government should not ratify a treaty until the protections it provides have been fully implemented: the UK-Rwanda Agreement on an Asylum Partnership. How Parliament deals with treaties has long been the subject of debate. A new report on Parliament's role in scrutinising international agreements offers some practical proposals for reform.

22 Jan 2024
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Submissions / Commons scrutiny of Secretaries of State in the House of Lords: Evidence to the House of Commons Procedure Committee

Following the appointment of the Rt Hon Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton to the role of Foreign Secretary on 13 November 2023, we submitted evidence to the Procedure Committee inquiry into the options for MPs to effectively scrutinise Secretaries of State in the House of Lords and the work of their departments.

18 Dec 2023
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Briefings / The Criminal Justice Bill: Concerns about the delegated powers

Ahead of the Criminal Justice Bill’s Committee stage in the House of Commons, this briefing paper focuses on three clauses in the Bill that contain delegated powers that are of particular concern and that highlight different aspects of the problems with the system of delegated powers.

11 Dec 2023
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Briefings / 6 things to look out for in Parliament in the next Session

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.

07 Nov 2023
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Guides / What is the debate on the ‘Address’?

After the King's Speech has been delivered, each House must respond to it. This response takes the form of a 'humble Address' from the House to the King, thanking him for the Speech. The debate on this motion is properly called the 'Debate on the Address'. The debate lasts for several days in each House and provides an occasion for a wide-ranging and constitutionally significant discussion about the Government's policies and programme.

06 Nov 2023
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Guides / What is the King’s Speech?

06 Nov 2023
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Guides / What is the Estimates cycle?

07 Mar 2023
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Guides / What are Estimates?

07 Mar 2023
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Blog / Ping-pong and packaging

13 Feb 2021
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Blog / Whose House Is It Anyway?

12 Oct 2017