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80th Anniversary Appeal: support our work to make Parliament more effective

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Parliament, weathered by years of political turbulence, finds itself struggling to fulfill one of its fundamental duties: holding the Government accountable. The House of Commons in particular, is failing to effectively scrutinise and improve the laws that shape the lives of every citizen. It is clear that Members of Parliament need better tools and support to perform the role to which they have been elected.

Only by addressing these problems can we restore the vitality of Parliament, rebuild public confidence in this essential body and rekindle our collective belief in the power of parliamentary democracy.

As an independent charity we need your help to support this vital work.

Acts of Parliament in the Parliamentary Archives, Houses of Parliament, Westminster. (© UK Parliament / Parliamentary Archives)

Improve the way we make laws and regulations  

We have crafted a cross party solution to tackle a pressing constitutional problem: the growth in government by diktat fuelled by excessive dependence on delegated legislation, the problems with which were illustrated so starkly during Brexit and the pandemic. Our plan would introduce more robust scrutiny procedures to address the democratic deficit and stop Parliament being reduced to a legislative rubber-stamp.

Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, 18 October 2023. ©UK Parliament / Andy Bailey

Support the next generation of MPs after the general election

We are developing a programme of support to better prepare the next generation of MPs to perform their core function as legislators and scrutineers. The House of Commons is a complex institution: MPs need practical and procedural advice and resources, particularly in the early months after the election, to enable them to make the most of their knowledge and skills on behalf of their constituents and the country.

The Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, at Prime Minister's Questions, 13 December 2023. ©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED]

Transform the language and rules of the House of Commons 

We are conducting a review of the Standing Orders, customs and practices of the House of Commons. Since 1945, the government-controlled Standing Orders have been systematically reviewed only six times. This initiative is designed to demystify the way the House of Commons works so that parliamentary procedures and processes are easier to communicate, understand and engage with for both MPs and the public.  

Follow in the footsteps of our first members, Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee, and join a community of like-minded people across the country who think we need a more effective Parliament.

From top: Stephen King-Hall (founder), Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee (founding members). (© National Portrait Gallery, London (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0))

News / Democratic decision-making in health emergencies: Learning the lessons of the Covid pandemic - Parliament Matters podcast, Episode 37

This week we have a compelling conversation with human-rights barrister Adam Wagner as we delve into the findings of the Independent Commission on UK Public Health Emergency Powers. Just before the general election was called, the Commission published its final recommendations, aiming to reshape law-making in the event of a future health emergency in the UK.

31 May 2024
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News / General election called: What now for Parliament? - Parliament Matters podcast, Episode 36

This week, we dive into the unexpected political shake-up in Westminster, where Rishi Sunak’s decision to call a general election has thrown Parliament into turmoil. The Prime Minister’s surprising move to hold the election in early July, rather than waiting until Autumn, has sent shockwaves through the political landscape.

24 May 2024
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Briefings / General election rules and regulations: what has changed?

With a general election on the horizon there has been a spate of new legislation and regulations to implement changes to the way the election will be run, with consequences for voters and electoral administrators. Parliament has not always had a role in approving these changes. This briefing sets out the core changes to the electoral process that have been implemented since the last general election in 2019, the role that Parliament has played in scrutinising and approving them, and the risks arising from these changes.

26 Apr 2024
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News / Democracy is in danger, warns Theresa May - Parliament Matters podcast, Episode 35

In a powerful Churchill Attlee Lecture commemorating the Hansard Society's 80th anniversary, former Prime Minister Theresa May delivered a stark warning about the state of democracy. She expressed grave concerns about the waning trust in democratic institutions, particularly among young people.

17 May 2024
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News / Post Office Horizon scandal: What is Parliament doing about it? - Parliament Matters podcast, Episode 33

Should Parliament simply overturn the convictions of postmasters caught up in the Post Office Horizon scandal? That’s what the Government proposes to do through the Post Office (Horizon system) Offences Bill. But quashing of convictions is normally a matter for the courts. Some MPs have misgivings about setting a constitutional precedent as well as practical concerns about how the Bill will be implemented. We talk to the Chair of the Justice Select Committee, Sir Bob Neill MP.

03 May 2024
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