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 recent rearrangement of responsibilities for the government’s handling of EU-related affairs raises questions about future parliamentary scrutiny of these issues. In some respects pre-2016 institutional arrangements are restored, but the post-Brexit landscape presents new scrutiny challenges which thus far MPs have not confronted.
What information and evidence does Parliament need to enable it to oversee government law-making? Is Parliament currently provided with sufficient information and, if not, how can this be improved?
A recent House of Lords debate on a ‘made negative’ Statutory Instrument highlights Peers’ greater appetite and ability to secure such debates compared to MPs. Data on debate lengths suggests parliamentarians are more likely to give more meaningful scrutiny to SIs they wish to debate than those on which they are obliged to spend time by current procedures.
What Covid Regulations will the House of Commons debate on 14 December, and how? Amid backbench unrest, the occasion will be shaped by the interplay between delegated legislation scrutiny, parliamentary procedures, and raw politics. The outcome could have profound consequences for both public health policy and the Prime Minister’s position.
Statutory Instruments (SIs) have been a key tool in the government’s response to shortages of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers. These SIs showcase the usefulness of this type of law-making but also highlight again some of the longstanding problems with its parliamentary scrutiny.
Delegated legislation may not be glamorous but it is essential to how our democracy works. Time to treat it accordingly.