For over 70 years the Hansard Society has produced leading research on parliaments, political engagement and democratic innovation. The majority of our publications are available to download for free.
At the start of a new Parliament a series of ceremonies and procedures must take place before the Members of the two Houses can get down to business. Our special collection of procedural guides takes you through them, in the order they take place. We start with some things to note about the highly unusual start of the 2019 Parliament.
A set of laws, conventions and Standing Orders govern how and when a Parliament starts and ends, how it is divided into sessions and sitting periods, and what ceremonies and procedures take place at different points. This guide takes you through them.
State Opening, with the Queen’s Speech at its centre, is the key ceremonial and constitutional event at the start of a new session of Parliament.
A number of different individuals and bodies provide leadership in each House. They have important powers and responsibilities, ranging from the administration of each House to stewardship of parliamentary business and procedures. This guide takes you through them.
Select committees are one of the key ways the two Houses of Parliament hold the government to account. They are also important bodies for Parliament’s engagement with the public.
Private Members’ Bills are bills introduced by MPs and Peers who are not government ministers. They provide backbenchers with an opportunity to address public concerns and to set a policy agenda that is not determined by the executive. But the procedures, often a source of controversy, are different to those that apply for government bills.