This June 2017 briefing paper sets out the procedures and events that mark the first days and weeks of a new Parliament after a General Election and shape the operation of the Parliament thereafter, with reference to the start of the 2017 Parliament.
The paper covers institutional steps required at the start of a new Parliament, such as the election of the House of Commons Speaker and Deputy Speakers, the swearing-in of MPs, and the establishment of select committees in both Houses and the election or appointment of their chairs and members. The paper also addresses the handling of the first items of business, such as the Queen’s Speech, a possible Budget, and the Private Members’ Bill ballots in both Houses.
The paper’s concluding section identified 11 institutional and procedural issues facing the Parliament elected in 2017.
Table of contents
- First Week: Speaker’s Election
- First Week: Swearing-In
- The Queen’s Speech
- Election of Deputy Speakers
- Select Committees
- Opposition Parties
- The Budget and Estimates
- Private Members’ Bill Ballots
- Issues for the 2017 Parliament
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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.
The EU (Future Relationship) Bill is to be considered by both Houses in just one sitting day. How unusual is such an expedited timetable and how much time will parliamentarians really have to look at the Bill? How will MPs participate in proceedings given Covid-19 restrictions? And how will proceedings, particularly the amendment process, work on the day?
The Coronavirus pandemic has added to the questions surrounding the nature of the Parliament that should emerge from the Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal programme. But, with concerns over the programme’s governance and public engagement rising, the report arising from the current review of the programme will not now be published this year.
The debate about remote participation in House of Commons proceedings raises critical questions about what constitutes a ‘good parliamentarian’, what ‘fair’ participation looks like, and who gets to decide. As things stand, the exclusion from much parliamentary business of pregnant women, among others, undermines equality of political representation.
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?