This 2006 collection of essays and commentaries is a follow-up to Members Only? Parliament in the Public Eye, the May 2005 report of the Hansard Society Commission on the Communication of Parliamentary Democracy, chaired by David Puttnam. The 2006 report reviewed developments since publication of the original report and identified what remained to be done.
The follow-up report aimed to promote discussion of the Commission’s report and highlight the need to continue to pursue its recommendations.
David Puttnam - the Chair of the original Commission - introduced the collection, highlighting the changes that had taken place since publication of the Commission’s report, and what he would like to see happen next.
Clare Ettinghausen considered the Commission’s findings in relation to the administration of Parliament, and the way in which this impacts on communications. Patricia Hodgson discussed the ways in which a co-ordinated strategy would improve parliamentary communication, while Virginia Gibbons looked at the role of the media. Jackie Ashley contributed her own overview of changes since the Commission reported.
Each of these essays is followed by a comment from a leading practitioner with intimate knowledge of the issues involved: Rt Hon Jack Straw MP, Leader of the House of Commons; Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons; John Pullinger, House of Commons Librarian; and Greg Hurst, political correspondent of The Times and Honorary Secretary of the Parliamentary Press Gallery.
At the end of the collection, an audit analysed progress on each of the Commission’s 39 recommendations.
Banner image: ‘Bokeh Parliament’, by Luiz Filipe Carneiro Machado.
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The Hansard Society hosted two online hustings for the candidates in the 2021 Lord Speaker election. The first event, on 25 March, was chaired by the BBC’s parliamentary correspondent Mark D’Arcy; and the second, on 13 April, was chaired by Jackie Ashley, former political correspondent and broadcaster.
The Strategic Review of the Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal programme has been published, after 10 months’ work – but political factors mean that implementation of the programme’s main conclusion, that there will be a ‘full decant’ from the building while work takes place, remains in doubt.
In order to raise income, the government needs to obtain approval from Parliament for its taxation plans. The Budget process is the means by which the House of Commons considers the government’s plans to impose ‘charges on the people’ and its assessment of the wider state of the economy.
The Finance Bill enacts the government’s Budget provisions – its income-raising proposals and detailed tax changes. Parliament’s scrutiny and authorisation of these taxation plans are crucial in holding the government to account – between elections – for the money it raises and spends.
Lord Frost’s appointment as Minister of State in the Cabinet Office to lead on UK-EU relations brings some welcome clarity about future government arrangements in this area. However, it also raises challenges for parliamentary scrutiny, above all with respect to his status as a Member of the House of Lords.
There was controversy on 9 February over whether the government had used procedural trickery to swerve a backbench rebellion in the House of Commons on a clause inserted in the Trade Bill by the House of Lords. Apparently, it was something to do with ‘packaging’. What does that mean, and was it true? The answer is all about ‘ping-pong’.