The 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers is 100 years old on 18 April 2023 – but the MPs who attended its founding meeting would have been astonished it still exists a century later, and even more by its prominence and political importance. Why and how was the Committee created? And what accounted for its survival, when many apparently similar groups fell by the wayside?
Parliaments are representative institutions, and parliamentarians are representatives. But who are they, through what institutions and mechanisms do they enter Parliament, how do they behave, and how do they see their own role? And how does Parliament’s status and performance as a representative institution affect its operation and public standing?
We’ve got used to the Conservative Party at Westminster being routinely described as somehow ‘ungovernable’, with Tory Prime Ministers seemingly prey to the whims of this or that group of determined, disruptive backbenchers. Just who are those groups? How influential are they? And do they really reflect a profound underlying fissure in the party or are they more evanescent than sometimes imagined?
The emerging quasi-federal organisation of the UK is under new strain yet there are currently no formal mechanisms for the two Houses at Westminster and the devolved legislatures to engage with each other on devolution-related issues of mutual concern. This report, published jointly with the Study of Parliament Group, sets out a proposal to develop and improve interparliamentary relations.
If you’ve been thinking that a more-than-usual number of MPs have recently moved straight from being Select Committee Chairs to (shadow) Ministers, then you’d be right. Yet data on Select Committee Chairs since 2005 seems to undermine the idea of Select Committee work as a career goal, with chairships instead increasingly acting as launchpads for, or interludes between, (shadow) ministerial posts.
The marginalisation of the House of Commons under Covid has been shocking; a year on, Parliament’s role must urgently be restored. This briefing highlights five ways in which the government’s approach to the House of Commons during Covid has marginalised MPs. TEST