Parliament

All Commons Briefing Papers
246 Documents
DateDescription
06.06.2016Impeachment
Impeachment was a means by which Parliament could prosecute and try individuals, normally holders of public office, for high treason or other crimes and misdemeanours. Impeachment is considered obsolete, as it has been superseded by other forms of accountability, and the rules underpinning the procedure have not been adapted to modern standards of democracy or procedural fairness
03.06.2016Carry-over of public bills
The carry-over of public bills from one session to the next was suggested by the Modernisation Committee as a way of reducing the fluctuations in legislative activity caused by Parliamentary sessions. After briefly summarising the Modernisation Committee's views, this House of Commons Library briefing paper describes the different approaches to allowing bills to be carried forward in this way in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The note also reports the use of carry-over motions and provides examples of the form of words used in carry-over motions.
26.05.2016EU Referendum: analysis of the UK's new EU Settlement
This Commons Library briefing looks at the new Settlement for the United Kingdom within the European Union agreed at the European Council on 17-19 February 2016. The Settlement consists of seven texts: a Decision and a Statement of Heads of State or Government and five Declarations.
18.05.2016Queen's Speech - proposers and seconders of the Loyal Address since 1900
The task of proposing and seconding the motion on the Loyal Address is regarded as an honour and is given to two government backbenchers.
17.05.2016Successful Private Members' Bills:1983-84 to present
Private Members' bills gaining Royal Assent since 1983
17.05.2016Queen's Speech 2016
This Commons Library Briefing Paper identifies issues and bills that may appear in the Queen's Speech, which will outline the Government's legislative programme for the 2016-17 Session of Parliament.
11.05.2016Vellum: printing record copies of public Acts
This House of Commons Library Briefing paper provides information about the practice of printing record copies of public Acts on vellum. It includes information on how this practice was established, and on calls for change.
20.04.2016Addresses to Members of both Houses of Parliament
Addresses to both Houses of Parliament since 1939
14.04.2016UK Election Statistics: 1918-2015
This paper presents an overview of results from UK elections since 1918. It provides summary results for elections from 1918 to 2015, focusing on elections to the House of Commons.
31.03.2016Recall of Parliament
This Note discusses the procedure for recalling Parliament, as well as providing details of recent occasions when Parliament has been recalled.
22.03.2016Short Money
This House of Commons Library briefing paper provides details of the current levels of 'Short money' allocated to opposition parties for parliamentary duties; a brief history of the scheme; and notes recent proposals to reduce Short Money allocations. Figures for the corresponding scheme in the House of Lords (Cranborne money) are provided. The note also provides details of allocations made under the representative money scheme.
16.03.2016The Parliamentary Ombudsman: role and proposals for reform
This House of Commons Briefing Paper looks at the role of the Parliamentary Ombudsman, and recent proposals for its reform.
07.03.2016All-women shortlists
This note looks at the background to the Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Act 2002 which allowed political parties to draw up all-women shortlists of candidates for elections; and its extension. It gives details of Labour candidates selected through all-women shortlists and methods of positive action used by the main political parties to increase the number of women MPs.
04.03.2016Ethnic Minorities in Politics and Government
Currently around 6% of Members of both Houses are from an ethnic minority background. This compares with 13% of UK population. The share of non-white population is the most proportionally represented in the Civil Service (11%), whereas the NHS has the largest share of ethnic minority staff (17%).
29.02.2016The Parliamentary Oath
This House of Commons Briefing Paper looks at the oath of allegiance or affirmation which Members of both Houses of Parliament are required to take before they can take their seat. It focuses primarily on the Parliamentary Oath in the House of Commons, although later sections look at the oath in the House of Lords, the devolved legislatures and in certain Commonwealth countries. It also sets out some of the key stages in the history and development of the Parliamentary Oath.
26.02.2016Political disengagement in the UK: who is disengaged?
This House of Commons Library Briefing Paper provides information about which groups in the UK are considered to be politically disengaged, and why.
25.02.2016The Parliament Acts
This House of Commons Library Briefing Paper sets out the procedures governing the use of the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949. It notes occasions when they have been used and also reports on challenges to the validity of the Parliament Acts.
12.02.2016Electronic recording of divisions
This House of Commons Library Briefing Paper provides information about the electronic recording of divisions in the House of Commons (on tablet devices). It also includes information on proposals to introduce electronic voting in the House of Commons, and electronic voting in other Parliaments.
09.02.2016Wilson Doctrine
The Wilson Doctrine is a convention that MPs' communications should not be intercepted by the intelligence services. The Investigatory Powers Tribunal gave judgement on 14 October 2015 clarifying the Doctrine's status and effect and the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill, published in November 2015, introduced proposals to place the existing arrangements on a statutory footing. This Briefing Paper sets out the background.
08.02.2016Peerage Creations since 1997
This House of Commons briefing paper provides details of appointments to the House of Lords from May 1997 to January 2016. It provides tables showing the numbers appointed under Prime Ministers Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron, broken down by party affiliation at the time of appointment. It also includes a chronological list of all those appointed during this period.
26.01.2016Social background of Members of Parliament 1979-2015
Following General Election 2015, 29% of MPs are female, 53% are over 50 years old, 6% are from non-white backgrounds and one-third are from fee-paying schools. The share of manual workers has fallen from 16% in 1979 to 3% in 2015. This note examines the social background of MPs from 1979 to 2015.
07.01.2016Conventions on the relationship between the House of Commons and House of Lords
This House of Commons Library briefing paper sets out the conventions on the relationship between the two Houses of Parliament and their origins. On 17 December 2015 Lord Strathclyde published his review of secondary legislation and the primacy of the House of Commons. This briefing paper sets out the background to the review and Lord Strathclyde's recommendations.
30.12.2015EU referendum: reform negotiations June to December 2015
This Commons Library briefing paper looks at the Prime Minister's proposed reforms, the launch of the UK reform agenda at the European Council in June 2015 and EU institutional initiatives of relevance to the Government's reform agenda. It also considers the level of support for the UK from other EU Member States, the role - if any - of the devolved administrations in the negotiations, public opinion, the referendum campaigns and other recent developments.
22.12.2015Acts and Statutory Instruments: the volume of UK legislation 1950 to 2015
This paper shows the volume of both primary and secondary legislation in the UK from 1950 to the present day.
16.11.2015Social Indicators 2015
This Research Paper summarises a wide range of social statistics. Subjects covered include agriculture, crime, defence, education, elections, environment and energy, health, housing, local government, population and migration, social security and transport.
16.11.2015Summary of public bills: 1997 - present
Summary of public bills introduced and gaining Royal Assent since 1997
16.11.2015UK delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
How democratic is the UK's 'democratic conscience'?
20.10.2015e-Petitions
This note looks at the background to the introduction of a new joint petitions system and a new Petitions Committee
25.09.2015The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and background
This briefing concerns the establishment of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, a statutory Inquiry chaired by Justice Lowell Goddard, which formally opened in July 2015. The Chair has stated she hopes to conclude the Inquiry's work before end-2020. This Inquiry replaced the previous, non-statutory, Inquiry set up in July 2014 which saw both of its Chairs resign.
24.08.2015Chairmen of the Committee of Public Accounts Since 1861
A list of Chairs of the Public Accounts Select Committee since 1861
21.08.2015Speakers of the House of Commons and Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen of Ways and Means
A list of all known Speakers and Deputies from 1258 to present day
13.08.2015Pre-legislative scrutiny under the Coalition Government: 2010-2015
This Briefing Paper reviews the commitments given on pre-legislative scrutiny and the draft bills published by the Coalition Government between May 2010 and March 2015.
28.07.2015General Election 2015
This briefing paper analyses the results of the 2015 General Election. It includes the election results by country, region and party, as well as the full result and turnout for every UK constituency. This is the second edition of the briefing paper, which provides additional analysis and statistics. New chapters in this edition cover seats changing hands, the characteristics of voters for each party, the characteristics of candidates and MPs, the electorate and turnout, safe and marginal seats, by-elections during the last Parliament, polling day, and the marginality of constituencies. The full results are available for download in two CSV files. The election results shown in this Briefing Paper were provided by Returning Officers following the 2015 General Election.
16.07.2015Women in Parliament and Government
191 women MPs were elected at the 2015 General Election, 29% of all MPs and a record high. Prior to 1987 women had never been more than 5% of MPs. 450 women have been elected to the Commons since 1918, nine less than the current number of male MPs.
07.07.2015House of Commons: Hours Sat & Late Sittings
A note examining the recent trends in the number of sitting days and hours of the House of Commons, including late sittings after 10pm, since 1979.
26.06.2015England, Scotland, Wales: MPs & voting in the House of Commons
This note analyses the geographic composition of governments and voting patterns of MPs representing England, Scotland and Wales in the House of Commons. It does so in light of the Smith Commission Heads of Agreement on further devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament, along with subsequent debate about both Scottish representation at Westminster and 'English votes for English laws'.
01.06.2015The election of Deputy Speakers
This note reviews the background to the introduction of elections for Deputy Speakers; notes arrangements for 2015; and reports the results the elections in June 2010 and in October 2013.
27.05.2015Committee on Standards in Public Life
This note sets out the background to the creation of the Committee on Standards in Public Life in 1994 and provides details of its recent work. The note looks at its constitutional position and relationship to Parliament. .
19.05.2015Key Issues for the 2015 Parliament
This book examines the key issues facing the House of Commons over the course of the 2015 Parliament - from the public finances to the UK's membership of the EU and from school places for children to climate change.
18.05.2015Parliamentary Questions: recent issues: House of Commons Background Paper
The system of Parliamentary Questions in the House of Commons. Background material, developments and issues studied over the last ten years.
14.05.2015The election of a Speaker
This note briefly reviews the election of the Speaker in 2009, the Procedure Committee's review, and the changes made, in 2001, to the procedure for electing a Speaker.
13.05.2015Parliamentary approval for military action
The deployment of the Armed Forces is currently a prerogative power. Parliament has no legally established role and the Government is under no legal obligation with respect to its conduct. In 2011 the Government acknowledged that a convention had emerged whereby the House of Commons would have the opportunity to debate the deployment of military forces, prior to doing so, except in the event of an emergency. The defeat of the Government in a vote on military action in Syria in August 2013 was widely viewed as an assertion of Parliamentary sovereignty on such matters. Yet many have argued that the convention lacks clarity and remains open to interpretation and exploitation. In 2011 the Government committed to legislate on this issue but by the end of the 2010-2015 Parliament no proposals were forthcoming. Going forward proponents of a formalised role for Parliament have suggested adopting a parliamentary resolution as either an interim step or as a viable alternative to legislation. Establishing either is fraught with difficulties and arguably, therefore, makes the continuation and strengthening of the current convention more likely in the immediate future.
13.05.2015Father of the House: House of Commons Background Paper
The Father of the House is a title that is by tradition bestowed on the senior Member of the House, which is nowadays held to be the Member who has the longest unbroken service in the Commons. This briefing paper discusses the duties associated with the post and its history.
11.05.2015What happens after an indecisive election result?
This note considers the conventions on forming a government in a scenario where no one party wins the majority of seats at a general election. It also covers the restrictions on government activity during the period between a general election and the formation of a new Government.
11.05.2015The 2010 Coalition Government at Westminster
This Standard Note sets out details of the operation of the 2010 Coalition Government and includes information about the various agreements to differ between the two governing parties.
24.03.2015The Osmotherly Rules
The Osmotherly Rules (the Rules) give guidance on the role of civil servants and other Government officials appearing before select committees. The purpose of the Rules is to assist staff in Government departments dealing with requests for information from select committees, including: the provision of evidence, handling select committee reports and drafting responses to such reports.
16.03.2015The Code of Conduct for Members - recent changes
This Note sets out recent changes to the Code of Conduct for Members and Guide to the Rules relating to the conduct of Members.
10.03.2015Sources of Statistics
This briefing paper brings together sources of statistics on 27 subject areas covered by the Economic Policy & Statistics and Social & General Statistics sections of the House of Commons Library. In doing so it draws upon the knowledge of Library specialists, aiming to provide comprehensive topic-by-topic guides for use by anyone interested in the statistical series that underpin the United Kingdom.
10.03.2015Sources of Statistics: Parliament
This introductory guide provides sources of statistics on the Parliament.
04.03.2015Election timetables
This Research Paper sets out the model timetables for Parliamentary general elections and by-elections. The Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 made provision for a 25 day timetable for general elections and a timetable of up to 27 days for a by-election. This means that Parliament will be dissolved on 30 March 2015, 25 working days before the general election on 7 May 2015.
03.03.2015International Women's Day 2015: Background and statistics
What are the trends for women's equality in the UK and across the globe? This document provides background statistics for International Women's Day 2015, examining international comparisons and UK-specific data.
23.02.2015Pre-appointment hearings
This note sets out the background to the pre-appointment hearings; considers the operation of the hearings to date; and outlines the Liaison Committee's reports on the issue. It also includes information about some posts where there is greater parliamentary involvement. The appendix sets out the full list of appointments the Government has agreed should be subject to pre-appointment hearings.
17.02.2015House of Commons Commission Bill
The House of Commons Commission Bill 2014-15 amends the House of Commons (Administration) Act 1978 to make changes to the membership and remit of the House of Commons Commission.
09.02.2015Prime Minister's Questions
This note outlines the procedures for the tabling of questions for and answering of questions at Prime Minister's Question Time. It also reviews the history of the Prime Minister facing questions in the Chamber of the House of Commons, the changes to Prime Minister's Questions, and the current situation. The
28.01.2015Scotland the referendum and independence: Selected timeline
This Note gives a selected timeline of events and significant publications leading up to the Referendum in Scotland on 18 September 2014 and to some of the potential follow-up events.
28.01.2015Dissolution of Parliament
Under provisions in the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, Parliament is dissolved automatically 25 working days before a general election. The Act sets the date of the next general election as 7 May 2015, accordingly this Parliament will dissolve on 30 March 2015.
16.10.2014Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011
The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 creates a five year period between general elections. Early elections may only be held in specified circumstances. The Act also extends the terms of the Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales, so that the next elections are in 2016.
15.10.2014European Union (Referendum) Bill
This Private Member's Bill was introduced to the Commons on 2 July 2014 and requires the holding of a referendum on the UK's continued membership of the European Union (EU) before the end of 2017. This Paper has been prepared as a guide in advance of the second reading on Friday 17 October.
13.10.2014House of Commons sitting of the UK Youth Parliament - November 2014
This special briefing paper has been produced to help Members of Youth Parliament (MYPs) prepare for the House of Commons sitting of the UK Youth Parliament which takes place on 14 November.
09.10.2014Recall of MPs Bill 2014-15
The Recall of MPs Bill 2014-15 was introduced on 11 September 2014, and is scheduled to be debated on second reading on 14 October. There was a commitment to legislate to introduce a power of recall in the Coalition Agreement, and a draft bill was scrutinised by the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee in 2012.
10.09.2014Timetable for the UK Parliamentary General election
The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 fixes the date of the next general election as 7 May 2015, and provides for five year intervals between elections. The Act ends the prerogative power of dissolution. The Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 made provision for lengthening the UK Parliamentary election timetable, both for general and by-elections. These provisions have been brought into force and Parliament will have to be dissolved 25 rather than 17 days before the general election on 7 May 2015.
20.06.2014Programming of legislation - recent proposals
The Procedure Committee's recommendation that a trial take place in 2014-15 Session of a three-day deadline for the tabling of amendments and new clauses/schedules at report stage of all programmed bills will be debated on 8 May 2014. It is hoped this will ensure a timetable could be agreed for report stage debates.
23.05.2014Queen's Speech 2014
This Standard Note gathers together announcements from ministers and speculation from commentators on the issues that might be included in the forthcoming Queen's Speech.
09.05.2014All-Party Groups
In November 2013, the Committee on Standards recommended changes to the rules on the registration of all-party groups. The Committee's report is scheduled to be debated on 13 May 2014.
19.03.2014Public Reading Stage of Bills
This note reviews the proposals for introducing a public reading stage for bills; outlines the pilots that have been conducted; and reports on the evaluations of those pilots.
27.02.2014Census 2011 Constituency results: United Kingdom
Census data for UK constituencies - age, country of birth, ethnicity, car ownership housing tenure. Highest and lowest constituencies, maps and access to demographic profiles of all parliamentary constituencies.
14.02.2014The McKay Commission: Report of the Commission on the consequences of devolution for the House of Commons
This Note looks at the McKay Commission: Report of the Commission on the consequences of devolution for the House of Commons. The report called for the adoption of a constitutional convention that decisions at the United Kingdom level with a separate and distinct effect for England (or for England-and-Wales) should normally be taken only with the consent of a majority of MPs for constituencies in England (or England-and-Wales).
18.11.2013Women in Parliament: making a difference since 1918
This document, produced especially for Parliament Week 2013, examines the role that women have played in Parliament. It includes a statistics on the increasing number of women in Parliament, brief profiles of selected Women Members and finishes by examining key pieces of legislation that have been passed by women.
29.08.2013Officers of Parliament: recent developments
This Standard Note updates Research Paper 03/77 Officers of Parliament: A Comparative Perspective, in respect of developments at the UK level.
02.08.2013Traditions and customs of the House: House of Commons Background Paper
This note outlines a number of the lesser-known and more unusual customs, procedures and behaviours of the House of Commons. It covers aspects of debate in the Chamber of the House; aspects of protocol; and specific traditions.
02.08.2013Divisions in the House of Commons: House of Commons Background Paper
This Standard Note describes the current practice and historical development of divisions.
02.08.2013Opposition parties in the House of Commons
This note describes the development of the roles and entitlements of the opposition parties, in particular the Official Opposition, in the House of Commons. It lists the current opposition parties and their electoral performance, and discusses how the procedures and practices of the House make allowances for the Opposition.
18.07.2013Resignation from the House of Commons: House of Commons Background Paper
Under a Resolution of the House of 2 March 1624, Members of Parliament cannot directly resign their seat. The only means by which a Member's seat may be vacated during the lifetime of a Parliament are through death; expulsion by resolution of the House; or disqualification, either by the voiding of the Member's election or through accepting one of a number of offices which are incompatible with membership of the House of Commons. Members who resign in this way may contest the subsequent by-election.
17.07.2013Lobbying: July 2013 update
This Note covers the debate over a statutory register of lobbyists, and gives an update on the Government's plans to legislate.
16.07.2013Civil servants' and MPs' salaries
Historically MPs' pay was linked to the salary scales of certain civil service grades. Although this is no longer the case, there is a continued interest in how these rates of pay have moved relative to each other.
16.07.2013Parliamentary privilege: current issues
This Note provides information on developments in parliamentary privilege since the last major review by the Joint Committee on Parliamentary Privilege report in 1999.
12.07.2013Sessional Orders
This note provides a brief outline of the changes to Sessional Orders since 2002-03 when the Procedure Committee was asked to look at this subject.
02.07.2013PIL: Bills whose Commons committee stage has been taken in Committee of the Whole House
Consideration of Bills in committee of the whole House (CWH)
14.06.2013Retrospective legislation
This Note explains what retrospective legislation is and provides some examples, in the context of the Mental Health (Approval Functions) Act 2012 and the Job-Seekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013.
23.05.2013Post-Legislative Scrutiny
This note outlines the background to and the Government's approach to post-legislative scrutiny. By January 2013, 58 memorandums on post-legislative assessments had been published. The note also gives some details of individual inquiries held by Select Committees in response to the publication of several Memorandums, as well as some detail on post-legislative scrutiny in the House of Lords.
13.05.2013Confidence motions
This Standard Note provides background information on the practice of confidence motions in Parliament before the passage of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 and notes the circumstances in which an early general election can be called under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act.
23.04.2013Queen's Speech 2013
This Standard Note gathers together announcements from ministers and speculation from commentators on the issues that might be included in the forthcoming Queen's Speech.
13.03.2013The Union Flag and Flags of the United Kingdom
The purpose of this Note is to set out a brief history of the flags of the United Kingdom and to explain the current guidance issued by the DCMS. This Note also refers to the current guidance issued by the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
31.01.2013Commercial Lobbyists (Registration and Code of Conduct) Bill 2012-13 [Bill 39 2012-13]
The Commercial Lobbyists (Registration and Code of Conduct) Bill 2012-13 is a Private Member's Bill promoted by Thomas Docherty. It seeks to create a statutory register for commercial lobbyists and a legally enforceable code of conduct. It was presented on 25 June 2012, and is scheduled for second reading on 1 February 2013.
29.01.2013Effectiveness of select committees
This note introduces the Liaison Committee's review "Select committee effectiveness, resources and powers" (November 2012) and the academic literature on the effectiveness of select committees
18.01.2013Government policy announcements
The Ministerial Code states that when Parliament is in Session, the most important Ministerial announcements should be made in Parliament. However there have been occasions when, for whatever reason, announcements have not been delivered in Parliament first. Often in such cases the Speaker has made a statement to the House deprecating what has happened and sometimes calling on the minister concerned to account for his/her actions.
27.11.2012House of Commons Background Paper: Disciplinary and Penal Powers of the House of Commons
This Note provides information on rules covering disciplinary and penal powers of the House of Commons.
26.11.2012The publication of MPs' expenses by IPSA
This Note sets out the background to the information made available by the Commons for Members' allowances paid in the 2005-2010 Parliament. It then outlines IPSA's policy on release of allowances data and the position in the Welsh and Northern Irish Assemblies and the Scottish Parliament.
20.11.2012The Ombudsman- the developing role in the UK
This Note is designed to provide background on the work of the Ombudsman, and examines recent developments in the role.
14.11.2012Acts and Statutory Instruments: Volume of UK legislation 1950 to 2014
The number of Acts has been declining over the last 20 to 30 years, but the number of Statutory Instruments has been increasing. This note shows the numbers of pieces of legislation over the last 50 years. It looks at both primary (Acts) and secondary legislation (Statutory Instruments).
12.11.2012PIL: Parliaments held away from Westminster
Parliaments held away from Westminster.
12.11.2012PIL: Meeting Places of the Houses of Parliament at Westminster
Meeting places of Parliament at Westminster other than the two main chambers.
12.11.2012Fast-track legislation
This note reviews the House of Lords Constitution Committee's inquiry into fast-track legislation and the Government's response. It reports how information has been provided to Parliament on bills that have been fast-tracked.
09.11.2012Individual ministerial accountability
This Note looks at the recent debate on the question of individual ministerial responsibility in the context of civil service reform and civil service capability.
25.09.2012House of Lords Reform Bill 2012-13: decision not to proceed
The House of Lords Reform Bill 2012-13 had its second reading in the Commons on 9 and 10 July 2012. While the vote on second reading was won, 91 Conservative Members voted against, and the Government did not move its programme motion, meaning that the Bill was not sent to committee. On 6 August 2012 Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced that the Bill would not proceed further. On 3 September 2012 he confirmed that it had been withdrawn. This Note summarises the events leading to the abandonment of the Bill, and considers Lord Steel's House of Lords (Cessation of Membership) Bill, which some see as a more modest alternative.
26.07.2012Olympic Britain
Olympic Britain tells the story of the profound economic and social change in the UK since the two previous London Olympics, in 1908 and 1948, using statistics and expert analysis. The book can also be browsed using the Parliament website at www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/olympic-britain/
18.07.2012Timetabling of constitutional bills since 1997
This note provides some information on the amount of time the House has spent considering constitutional bills on the floor of the House of Commons during committee stage. The Note covers the period since 1997, when the programming of bills was first introduced.
04.07.2012House of Lords Reform Bill 2012-13
This Research Paper discusses the House of Lords Reform Bill 2012-13, placing it in the context of the previous draft bill and wider debates on the subject.
21.06.2012In brief: sources on House of Lords reform
This Note gives a guide to the official documents, parliamentary reports and research briefings on reform of the House of Lords since the publication of the Government's House of Lords Reform Draft Bill in May 2011.
26.04.2012PIL: Opposition Day Debates: 1997-2010
Opposition Day debates: 1997-2010
18.04.2012Queen's Speech 2012
This Standard Note gathers together speculation on the issues that might be included in the forthcoming Queen's Speech.
05.04.2012Election of the chair and members of the Backbench Business Committee (BBCom)
On 12 March 2012, the House agreed changes to the rules for the election of the chair and members of the Backbench Business Committee. The previous rules, changes made and background to the changes are reviewed in this note.
29.03.2012Orders under the Public Bodies Act 2011
The Public Bodies Act 2011 received royal assent on 14 December 2011. The Act provides for orders to be brought forward to abolish, merge, modify the constitutional arrangements of; modify the funding arrangements of; and modify or transfer the functions of public bodies.
15.03.2012PIL: Total Number of MPs, Peers and Staff
Total Number of MPs, Peers and Staff since 1997
25.01.2012Lobbying
This note sets out issues relating to lobbying in the UK, including the announcement of the Government's consultation paper on a statutory register. It includes background to the Public Administration Select Committee's inquiry and the main findings of their report as well as the Government response. It also includes details of the 1991 Select Committee on Members' Interests report and the relevant work of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.
18.01.2012The West Lothian question
This note explores the concept of the 'West Lothian Question' in the light of the devolution settlements in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from 1999.
13.12.2011Review of the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009 by the Committee on Members' Expenses
This note provides links to background information relevant to the Committee on Members' Expenses review of the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009.
05.12.2011Pre-1995 Library Research Briefings
The purpose of this Standard Note is to list, by series, and in chronological order within each series, all pre-1995 House of Commons Library Research briefings. Many of them are not available electronically. About 2,000 documents fall into this category.
18.11.2011The Intelligence and Security Committee:
This paper is essentially a short selective bibliography of resources on the Intelligence and Security Committee.
16.11.2011The Compliance Officer
This note sets out the legislative background to the post of Compliance Officer, created in the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009, as amended by the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. The Officer investigates complaints about the misuse of allowances by Members of Parliament.
03.11.2011PIL: MPs and Peers with Dual Mandates
Dual mandate is the term used to describe those MPs and Peers who, in addition to their seat in the United Kingdom Parliament, also hold a seat in the Northern Ireland Assembly (MLAs), the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) or the National Assembly for Wales (AMs).
16.08.2011The Separation of Powers
This Standard Note considers the extent to which 1) the executive and legislature; 2) the executive and judiciary; and 3) the judiciary and legislature now overlap and interact.
20.07.2011Fixed Term Parliament Bill - Lords stages
This standard note summarises the Lords stages of the Fixed-term Parliaments Bill
02.06.2011Reform of the House of Lords: the Coalition Agreement and further developments
This note outlines the proposals for House of Lords reform contained in the Coalition Agreement, including those for the preparation of a draft Bill to create a fully or mainly elected House. Initial announcements stated that the draft Bill would be published in December 2010 but more recent statements have indicated that it will not be published until the New Year.
25.05.2011Parliamentary privilege and qualified privilege
This Note examines the concept of privilege as it applies to Members, staff, and publications of the House, press reports of Parliament, and members of public authorities. It compares qualified privilege with the absolute nature of parliamentary privilege, by examining a number of areas where privilege may be applicable. Apart from quoting the statutory authorities, it does not seek to deal with the wider question of media publications on matters of public interest, which may involve a different kind of qualified privilege
15.04.2011Members' allowances from April 2011
30.03.2011Members' pay from April 2011
28.02.2011The House of Lords Appointments Commission
This note sets out the role of the Commission in more detail. It also summarises the conclusions of the December 2007 Public Administration Select Committee report, Propriety and Peerages.
21.02.2011The Parliamentary Voting system and Constituencies Bill: summary of amendments
15.02.2011Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill: Lords stages
This Note summarises the Lords stages of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill 2010-11. It supplements Research Paper 10/55 which was produced for the Bill's second reading in the House of Commons and Research Paper 10/72 which summarises all the Commons stages of the Bill.
11.02.2011Wash-up 2010
The wash-up period at the end of a Parliament allows a Government to get onto the statute book essential or non-controversial legislation that would not otherwise complete its passage through Parliament because of Dissolution. This paper describes the wash-up process; reviews the proceedings on wash-up in 2010; and provides details of Bills that received Royal Assent in each of the last six wash-up periods.
08.02.2011Parliamentary scrutiny of treaties: up to 2010
Before 2010 the UK Parliament had no formal role in the ratification of treaties, which is a matter for the Government under the Royal Prerogative. There were however several ways in which treaties were scrutinised by Parliament before the Government ratified them, for example under the 'Ponsonby Rule'. There have been calls for Parliamentary scrutiny of treaties to be enhanced, including through creating a dedicated treaty scrutiny committee.
08.02.2011Parliament's new statutory role in ratifying treaties
Parliament now has a new statutory role in ratifying treaties: the government must lay most treaties before Parliament for 21 sitting days before it can ratify them, and the Commons can block ratification indefinitely. However, there is no statutory requirement for a debate or vote, and parliament cannot amend treaties.
04.02.2011The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority: operating the Members' Expenses Scheme
This note provides a brief review of the establishment of IPSA and of its role in setting and paying Members' expenses. It also outlines the limited responsibilities of the Government and the House in relation to a body that was expressly established to be independent of both.
31.01.2011Parliamentary reform - a brief overview
This note briefly reviews committees that have (or have had) a role in developing reform proposals, then it briefly reviews recent reform proposals that have been implemented or are underway but not fully implemented. Finally it notes legislation before Parliament this Session that is likely to affect how the House of Commons operates.
25.01.2011Recess questions and September sittings
This note reviews the background to the House sitting in September 2003, September 2004 and September 2010; and the introduction of the tabling of questions for answer during the summer recess.
20.01.2011Fixed-term Parliaments Bill: Commons Stages [Bill No 64 of 2010-11]
This Research Paper summarises all the Commons stages of the Fixed-term Parliaments Bill. It complements Research Paper 10/54 which was prepared for the Commons Second Reading. No major amendments were made to the Bill during its Committee stage and no amendments were made during Report.
19.01.2011PIL: Youngest Members of Parliament
23.12.2010Rectification procedure
This note reviews the origins and evolution of the rectification procedure. It notes how many times it has been used. It sets out John Lyon's proposals to change it. It reports the BBC's coverage of Sir George Young's letter to the Committee on Standards and Privileges. Finally, it outlines the Committee on Standards and Privileges' recommendations, and the House's decisions.
20.12.2010Fixed-term Parliaments Bill 2010-11: Commons stages
The Fixed-term Parliaments Bill [Bill No 64 of 2010-11] was introduced to the House of Commons on 22 July 2010 and had its Second Reading on 13 September 2010. This Note details the progress of the Bill, including developments between First and Second Reading and the Second Reading debate itself.
26.11.2010Members' pay and allowances from April 2010
This note sets out the rate of allowances under the House of Commons schemes and the budgets for expenses under the IPSA scheme.
16.11.2010Resignation, suspension and expulsion from the House of Lords
This note sets out the current rules on membership of the House of Lords and the disqualification criteria. It then outlines recent developments which have caused interest in the ability of the House of Lords to suspend and expel its own Members, and the ability of members of the House of Lords to stand down. It considers the provisions included in the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill as introduced, and the reactions to them, including some of the main arguments made during the second reading debate. It also sets out proposals which have been made for time-limited appointments to the House of Lords - so called 'term peerages".
11.11.2010Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill 2010-11: Commons Stages
This Paper summarises all Commons stages of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill 2010-11. It supplements Research Paper 10/55 which was produced for the Bill's Second Reading and replaces Standard Note 5697 'Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill: Progress of the Bill'. No major changes were made during the passage of the Bill in the Commons, but the text of the referendum question was altered and legislative provision was made for the combination of polls on 5 May 2011.
29.10.2010Welsh Grand Committee
Some Members representing Welsh constituencies called for a meeting of the Welsh Grand Committee in order to discuss the impact on Wales of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill 2010. The Secretary of State, Cheryl Gillan, declined. This Note gives a very brief account of the business of the Committee and a list of its previous meetings.
27.10.2010PIL: Government Defeats in the House of Lords
25.10.2010PIL: Government Bills introduced each session (by department)
27.09.2010Number of Parliamentarians: International Comparisons
This note compares the number of parliamentarians in the lower or single chamber of different countries.
01.09.2010The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill [Bill 63 of 2010-11]
This Paper has been prepared for the Second Reading debate in the House of Commons. The Bill seeks to enable the next general election to be fought under the Alternative Vote system, provided this change is endorsed in a referendum on 5 May 2011 and boundary changes have been made to reduce the size of the House of Commons to 600. New rules for the redistribution of seats are designed to give primacy to numerical equality in constituencies and regular redistributions would take place every five years.
26.08.2010Fixed-term Parliaments Bill [Bill 64 of 2010-11]
The Fixed-term Parliaments Bill was introduced to the House of Commons on 22 July 2010. The proposals are part of the Coalition Agreement between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, agreed after the May 2010 General Election. The Bill fixes the date of the next General Election at 7 May 2015, and provides five year fixed-terms. There are provisions to allow the Prime Minister to alter the date by Order by up to two months. There are also two ways in which an election could be triggered before the five year term: if a motion of no confidence is passed and no alternative government is found within 14 days; or a motion for an early General Election is agreed either by at least two-thirds of the House or without division.
23.08.2010Financial Support for Members of the House of Lords
In November 2009 the Review Body on Senior Salaries (SSRB) published its Review of Financial Support for Members of the House of Lords. This note sets out the expense allowance system as it currently operates, the background to the 2009 SSRB report, and its recommendations. It then sets out the changes made so far to the system.
28.07.2010Reducing the size of the House of Commons
The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill was introduced on 22 July 2010 and introduces new Rules for Redistribution which make provision for the number of constituencies to be reduced to 600. This note looks briefly at the current Rules for Redistribution and at recent calls for the Rules to be changed; details of the length of time it has taken to carry out periodical reviews of Parliamentary constituencies are also given. A summary of the Bill's main provisions is also included.
28.07.2010The Rules for the Redistribution of Seats- history and reform
The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill 2010-11 will introduce new Rules for the Redistribution of Seats. This Note sets out how the current Rules for the Redistributions of Seats in the Commons have evolved from the Speaker's Conference in 1944 and should be read in conjunction with Standard Note 5570 Reducing the size of the House of Commons.
28.07.2010Redistributing parliamentary boundaries: some international comparisons
This note describes how constituency boundaries are redrawn in a number of other countries: Canada, Australia, the USA and France. Much of the material in the note is taken from a key text on the subject, Redistributing in comparative perspective edited by Lisa Handley and Bernard Grofman.
27.07.2010Parliamentary Ombudsman: right of Appeal
Members often ask on behalf of their constituents whether there is any appeal against a decision by the Parliamentary Ombudsman (also called the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration). This note provides guidance on this subject.
27.07.2010The Parliamentary Ombudsman and the MP filter
This Note sets out the role of the MP in referring complaints to the Parliamentary Ombudsman and refers to other relevant Library Standard Notes.
22.07.2010PIL: Time Spent on Government Bills
22.07.2010The Backbench Business Committee
The Backbench Business Committee was created at the start of the 2010 Parliament, with the Standing Order changes made on 15 June 2010. This followed recommendations made by the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons in November 2009 and agreed in principle by the House in March 2010. The Chair of the Committee was elected by secret ballot of the whole House on 22 June 2010; with the Committee members also elected by secret ballot of the whole House on 29 June. The Backbench Business Committee has responsibility for scheduling debates on 35 days, at least 27 of which will take place in the House of Commons Chamber.
16.07.2010PIL: Speakers' statements on ministerial policy announcements made outside the House
17.06.2010Reform of the House of Commons: The establishment of a Backbench Business Committee
This note briefly sets out the way in which the business of the House of Commons is currently decided. It summarises the proposals on the scheduling of business from the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons and the decisions made by the House on 4 March 2010. It considers the March 2010 report of Reform Committee and their proposed changes to Standing Orders, along with the Government's own proposals.
10.06.2010The establishment of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
This note briefly describes the background to the decision to create the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) and a Commissioner for Parliamentary Investigations. It then outlines the functions given to IPSA and to the Commissioner for Parliamentary Investigations by the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009. It also sets out the steps taken in establishing IPSA, including the appointment of the Speaker's Committee and the Chair of IPSA, Sir Ian Kennedy.
03.06.2010Protests around Parliament
For many years, there have been special provisions applying to protests in the vicinity of Parliament. These used to be contained in sessional orders to the police. Then, mainly in response to concerns about the long-term protest by Brian Haw in Parliament Square against Government policy in Iraq, new provisions in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 made it a criminal offence to demonstrate without authorisation in the vicinity of Parliament and allowed the police to impose conditions on demonstrators. Demonstrators have to give notice, and if this notice complies with the legal requirements, the police have to give authorisation, but conditions may be imposed on the demonstration.Provisions in the Constitutional Reform and Government Bill, which is currently awaiting its second reading in the Commons, would, if enacted, repeal provisions introduced in 2005 restricting protests in the vicinity of Parliament. However, a new framework would be introduced by regulations under the Bill.
03.06.2010Hung parliaments
This note sets out situations where there has been no overall control in the House of Commons during the twentieth century. It considers precedents and conventions governing how the monarch might decide which party should form a government in such a situation, and when a request for a dissolution might be granted. The note also considers how a minority government or coalition might affect the work of Parliament. Lastly, it looks briefly at the formation of coalition governments in Scotland and Wales.
02.06.2010Fixed term parliaments- early dissolution arrangements
This Note is intended to be a companion to Library Standard Note 831 Fixed Term Parliaments. It explains how fixed term parliaments operate in a number of other advanced democracies, both parliamentary and presidential.
25.05.2010Social Indicators
This Research Paper summarises a wide range of social statistics. Subjects covered include crime and justice, defence, education, elections, health and population. This edition includes articles on 'Women in Parliament and public service' and 'Trends in GCSE performance gaps' as well as a topical subject page on coalition statistics.
25.05.2010Coalition statistics
Following the May 2010 elections, the UK has a coalition government for the first time in decades. This note shows that coalitions are an established form of government in western Europe and the UK.
25.05.2010Women in Parliament and public service
Women make up 51% of the population of the UK, but only 22% of MPs are women. This note looks at women in Parliament, Government and other areas of public life.
12.05.2010Proposals for an e-petitions system for the House of Commons
In April 2008 the House of Commons Procedure Committee published a report on e-Petitions. This note looks at the benefits and risks that the Procedure Committee identified in their report, and sets out some information about e-petitions systems in Queensland, Australia, the Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales. It also includes information about the No. 10 Downing Street e-petitions system, introduced in November 2006.
11.05.2010House of Lords Reform: the 2008 White Paper and developments to April 2010
This note sets out a brief history of reform of the House of Lords before summarising the proposals made in the 2008 White Paper and the measures on Lords reform included in the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill 2008-09 introduced in the Commons in July 2009.
11.05.2010House of Lords reform: proposals to end the by-elections for the hereditary peers
The Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill 2008-09 introduced in July 2009 included a clause which would end the process of by-elections to fill the vacancies for hereditary peers. This would allow the number of hereditary peers in the Lords to reduce over time to zero. This note sets out the Government's proposals and some background information on the House of Lords Act 1999.
14.04.2010Remaining stages of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill 2009-10
This Note outlines the changes made to the Bill during report stage and third reading in the House of Commons, seconf reading in the Lords and during wash up.
07.04.2010Regulation of standards of conduct in the House of Lords
This Note sets out the new procedures to be used in the House of Lords to investigate allegations of misconduct against peers, which replace the system in operation since 2002. The changes are based on the report of the (Eames) Leader's Group which recommended reforms to the Code of Conduct and the appointment of an independent House of Lords Commissioner for Standards.
25.03.2010Wash-up
This note provides a brief outline of the procedures followed at the end of Parliament to ensure the enactment of some of the legislation that has not completed its passage through Parliament when a general election is called. The note also gives details of the time available for wash-up following the announcement of general elections since 1983.
16.03.2010Proposals for a Petitions Committee for the House of Commons
This note outlines the current petitions process in the House of Commons. It then sets out the findings of the Procedure Committee's reports on petitions and the recommendations of the Committee on Reform of the House of Commons. Lastly it considers the operation of petitions committees in the Scottish Parliament and the House of Representatives in Australia.
08.03.2010Reform of the House of Commons: Decisions taken on 22 February and 4 March 2010
On 22 February 2010 the House of Commons held a general debate on the report of the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons, Rebuilding the House. This Note outlines the motions, that were based on recommendations in the Committee's report, that the House agreed to on 22 February and also on 4 March 2010, when those motions objected to on 22 February were put to the House again with selected amendments.
25.02.2010Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill: Committee stage report
There were some significant amendments during the Committee Stage of this Bill. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority was given control over setting Members' pay and pensions by amendments to the Parliamentary Standard Act 2009. There is to be a new Compliance Officer to investigate alleged misuse of Members' allowances; amendments would ensure that all MPs and peers would be liable to UK taxes; there would be a referendum on whether to adopt the Alternative Vote by 31 October 2011; and a new requirement on Returning Officers to begin election counts four hours after a general election poll closes.
25.02.2010Communications Expenditure
This Note looks at the background of the Communications Allowance.
24.02.2010Clarification of the Act of Settlement 1701
This note explains the background to the introduction of Clause 83 into the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill 2009-10. The clause was introduced after it was suggested that Section 18 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 has introduced some difficulties of interpretation into the provisions of Section 3 of the Act of Settlement 1701.This affected the eligibility of Commonwealth and Republic of Ireland citizens to sit in the House of Lords.
19.02.2010The Report of the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons, Rebuilding the House
On 10 June 2009 the Prime Minister announced that the Government would support a proposal from Tony Wright, the Chairman of the Public Administration Select Committee, to establish a time-limited committee on reform of the House of Commons. The Committee published its report on 24 November. This Note examines the prposals made in the Committee's report and progress made in implementing them.
10.02.2010Parliamentary privilege and individual Members
This Note reviews the operation of parliamentary privilege with respect to individual Members. It refers to the Joint Committee on Parliamentary Privilege, which reported in 1999. Library Standard Note 2024 Parliamentary Privilege and Qualified Privilege covers the question of the treatment in law of Members' constituency correspondence.
09.02.2010Reassessment of past ACA claims
This note provides a brief overview of the establishment and role of the group charged with reassessing past claims made under the Additional Costs Allowance.
25.01.2010Establishment of the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons
On 20 July 2009, the day before it rose for the summer recess, the House of Commons agreed to establish the 18-member Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons. This note outlines the evolution of the Committee's terms of reference in addition to discussing the Committee's report, published on 24 November 2009.
30.12.2009The Royal Prerogative
This note sets out the historical background to the Royal Prerogative before describing general prerogative powers and the Crown's personal prerogative powers. It then sets out recent proposals for reform. It does not provide detailed information on individual prerogative powers.
14.12.2009Committee on Standards in Public Life's Review of Members' Allowances
This note briefly reviews the background to the CSPL inquiry and notes the people from whom it received oral evidence. The note also records the indications that the political parties have given about how they are likely to respond to the CSPL's report.
01.12.2009Speaker's Conferences
This note looks briefly at the background to previous conferences and lists them, with their terms of reference.
26.10.2009Religious representation in the House of Lords
Within the context of House of Lords' reform proposals, there has also been discussion of the future of the Lords Spiritual, and questions of whether other faiths groups should have representation in the second chamber. This note discusses these proposals including the Government's most recent White Paper on Lords reform published in July 2008.
21.10.2009Misconduct in public office
This Note briefly sets out the history of the Common Law offence of 'misconduct in public office'. It looks at recent use of the offence in prosecutions and considers proposals to place the offence on a statutory footing.
16.10.2009Governance of Britain: An update
This note provides an update on the proposals made by the Government in their July 2007 Green Paper on constitutional reform, The Governance of Britain. The note sets out each proposal and progress made since the publication of the Green Paper, including the contents of the Constitutional Renewal White Paper and draft Bill published in March 2008, and the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill introduced in July 2009.
06.10.2009Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill. Bill 142 2008-09.
This Bill was introduced to the House of Commons on 20 July 2009. It followed the publication in July 2007 of the Governance of Britain Green Paper which set out a broad programme of constitutional reform. In March 2008 the Government published the Draft Constitutional Renewal Bill and Constitutional Renewal White Paper. The draft Bill was scrutinised by a Joint Committee, with other committees reporting on aspects of the proposals. The content of the Bill is different from that of the draft Bill in some significant ways. As well as clauses on the civil service, the ratification of treaties, judicial appointments and protest around Parliament which were contained in the draft Bill, the Bill includes new provisions on the House of Lords, the Comptroller and Auditor General and the National Audit Office, Human Rights claims against the devolved administrations and the transparency of financial reporting to Parliament. Clauses on the Attorney General, which had been in the draft Bill, are not in the Bill as introduced.
29.07.2009Parliamentary Trends: Statistics about Parliament
This paper provides a summary of statistics about Parliament. It brings together figures about both the House of Commons and Lords; their membership and activities. The aim is to provide comparisons over time, though periods may vary according to relevance and the availability of consistent data. Some are for parliamentary sessions (a parliamentary session begins each year with the Queen's Speech) some by calendar year and some by financial year. This should be borne in mind when comparing different sets of information.
22.07.2009The parliamentary stages of the Parliamentary Standards Bill
This Note summarises the major amendments made to this Bill during its passage through both Houses. Research Paper 09/61 Parliamentary Standards Bill describes the policy background to the Bill and its content at first reading on 23 June.
25.06.2009Parliamentary Standards Bill. Bill 121 2008-09
The Bill introduces a statutory Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) and Commissioner for Parliamentary Investigations. The IPSA will be responsible for devising a scheme for Members' allowances and for determining claims. The Commissioner will investigate allegations of misuse of allowances and breaches of the financial interest rules. See also Research Paper 09/60, which covers the background to the Government's decision to implement major changes, pending the report from the Committee on Standards in Public Life expected in autumn 2009.
18.06.2009Suggestions for possible changes to the procedure and business of the House- a note by the Clerks
This Standard Note reproduces the text of a letter and accompanying set of suggestions prepared by Robert Rogers, Clerk of Legislation, for circulation to the Leader of the House, Shadow Leaders, Whips, and Chairs of relevant Committees, and those Members intending to stand in the election for Speaker, due to take place on Monday 22 June. It is reproduced in this form for the convenience of other Members.
15.06.2009The Departmental Select Committee System
On 25 June 1979 the House of Commons agreed to establish a new system of departmental select committees to scrutinise the expenditure, administration and policy of government departments. This paper briefly sets out the historical background to the departmental select committees system before charting their development over the last 30 years, considering evaluations made of the system and recent proposals for reform.
12.05.2009Comptroller and Auditor General
This note traces a brief history of the office of Comptroller and Auditor General and examines current proposals to reform the corporate governance of the National Audit Office.
08.05.2009Electoral performance of the British National Party in the UK
This note provides data on the electoral performance of the UK's British National Party (BNP) in local and parliamentary elections. This note has been updated to include results from the local elections held in England on 1 May 2008. It also comments upon results from various elections up to 2006, as well as overall results from the 2007 and 2008 local elections.
14.04.2009The draft Bribery Bill
This Note offers a brief introduction to the draft Bribery Bill published on 24 March 2009. For several years there has been pressure to update the UK anti corruption legislation, last amended in 1916, not least from the OECD and other international organisations who are promoting global anti corruption initiatives. The draft bill and white paper published on 25 March would implement proposals from the Law Commission in November 2008.
19.11.2008Members' salaries - implementing the Baker Review
On 24 January 2008, Members agreed that the 1996 resolution governing their salaries should cease to exist. No mechanism to replace it was considered. Instead, the House agreed with the Government that Sir John Baker, the retiring chairman of the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB), should be charged with finding a mechanism that would end the need for Members to vote regularly on their salaries.
10.10.2008The Whip's Office
This Standard Note provides a brief history of the origins and role of the Government and Opposition Whips in the management of parliamentary business, and an overview of their current functions and duties.
25.06.2008Ministerial Salaries
This Standard Note sets out the background to and effect of the Ministerial and other Salaries Order 2008, which was laid before both Houses of Parliament in draft on 2 June 2008.
19.05.2008Modernisation: Programming of legislation
This note describes these developments and the background to them in more detail. It then describes earlier proposals for the timetabling of legislation. Finally, it reviews some recent comments on the programming of legislation.
13.05.2008Draft Queen's Speech
This note briefly reviews the reasons why a draft Queen's Speech was made, and some of the reaction to it. The Modernisation Committee has reviewed the process. It welcomed the publication of the draft legislative programme and supported the Leader of the House's plan to give the House, its committees and the public longer to consider the draft legislative programme. This note briefly reviews the Modernisation Committee's report. Finally, the Note reviews the background to the institution of the Queen's Speech.
23.04.2008Parliamentary Involvement in Public Appointments
01.04.2008Parliamentary pay, allowances and pensions
05.03.2008EU Treaty Bills: the Whip and Referendum Clauses
26.02.2008The Tebbit Review of Management and Services of the House of Commons
This note looks at the detailed recommendations of the Tebbit Review in the House of Commons, the response by the House of Commons Commission and subsequent implementation. There is also background on how the Administration of the House has changed since 1978 and some comparative information on the devolved parliamentary administrations.
30.01.2008In brief: Parliamentary pay, pensions and allowances
This Note looks briefly at parliamentary pay, pensions and allowances for MPs.
23.01.2008PIL: Members Imprisonment Since 1979
21.01.2008PIL: Maiden Speeches 1945 - 79
17.01.2008The Disqualification from Parliament (Taxation Status) Bill
This Private Member's Bill is due to have a second reading on Friday 25 January 2008. It introduces a new disqualification procedure for members of both Houses relating to grounds related to residence and domicile for tax purposes.
12.12.2007Modernisation: Revitalising the Chamber
This note focuses on the Committee's recommendations on procedural issues, notes the Government's response to them and records the House's decisions. It also gives a brief overview of how the new procedures will operate.
04.12.2007House of Lords - Developments since January 2004
26.10.2007The Governance of Britain Green Paper
20.08.2007Chair of the Statistics Board
01.08.2007Sub Judice Rule
This note reviews the formalisation of the sub judice rule, which was confirmed by previous resolutions in 1963 and 1972; and considers reviews of the rule since its confirmation in 2001. This Note also covers the sub judice rules in the UK's devolved legislatures.
31.07.2007Parliament (Joint Departments) Bill [HL]
This note reports the progress of the Parliament (Joint Departments) Bill [HL] through the House of Commons.
04.06.2007The Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill 2006/07: Progress of the Bill
This Note updates Research Paper 07/18 The Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill, which was published on 21 February. Since then, this Bill has finished its Commons stages.
18.05.2007Parliament (Joint Departments) Bill (HL) 2006-07
20.03.2007House of Lords Reform: 2007 White Paper
This note provides a brief summary of the White Paper on House of Lords reform which was published on 7 February 2007. It notes some of the initial reaction to the content of the White Paper from political parties and groups, and pressure groups.
13.03.2007Commons divisions on House of Lords Reform: March 2007
09.03.2007The Statistics and Registration Service Bill, Committee Stage Report
The Statistics and Registration Service Bill, Committee Stage Report. House of Commons Library Research Paper 07/25
05.02.2007The Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill 06-07
This note sets out the background to the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill 2006-07.
25.01.2007Youth parliaments and young peoples participation in politics.
This note gives details about some of the main organisations involved with organising youth parliaments and other initiatives to increase youth participation in the political process.
08.01.2007House of Lords: Conventions
This note outlines the background to the establishment of the Joint Committee to review the coventions of the House of Lords and then reviews the conventions identified in the motion. It reviews the debates in both Houses on establishing the Joint Committee in the House of Lords.
18.12.2006The Puttnam (Hansard Society) Commission: Members Only? Parliament in the Public Eye
The Hansard Society Commission on the Communication of Parliamentary Democracy, chaired by Lord Puttnam, published its report in May 2005. The Commission was created to investigate how Parliament communicates with the wider world and how the public perceives Parliament. This Note will provide a summary of the contents of the Puttnam Commission Report along with a sketched backdrop of the factors contributing to the review.
09.10.2006Parliamentary pay and allowances
14.03.2006Power to the People: the report of Power, an Independent Inquiry into Britain's Democracy.
The Power Inquiry was established and funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust to investigate why there has been a decline in participation in formal politics and to make proposals to reverse this trend. The report of the Power Inquiry was published on 27 February 2006.
08.03.2006Sinn Fein, Allowances and Access to Commons Facilities
On 18 December 2001 the House debated and agreed a motion to allow Members who had chosen not to take their seats to use facilities within the precincts of the House and use the departments of the House, and claim Members' Allowances. This Note looks at what
02.12.2005The UK Parliament and European Business
14.11.2005The Constitutional Reform Act 2005- the role of the Lord Chancellor
This Note is designed to provide a short supplement to Standard Notes no 2105 and Research Papers 05/05 which described the provisions of, and background to, the Constitutional Reform Bill in relation to the Lord Chancellor until its second reading in the Commons. The Bill had a protracted initial passage through the Lords where a special committee had taken evidence on the Bill before eventual report stage and third reading. The scrutiny of the Bill in the Commons was truncated by the general election of 2005.
22.09.2005Drafting Legislation and the Parliamentary Counsel Office
The Parliamentary Counsel is a team of lawyers which drafts government bills before they are introduced into Parliament and works on other legal aspects of parliamentary business. This note describes the work of the Parliamentary Counsel Office, and its structure. It also briefly considers the implications of the growing use of pre-legislative scrutiny on the work of the Office.
08.08.2005Armed Forces (Parliamentary Approval for Participation in Armed Conflict) Bill: Bill 16 of 2005-06
11.07.2005The New Code of Conduct for Members
The Standards and Privileges Committee have issued a new version of the Code of Conduct for Members and Guide to the Rules, following a review undertaken by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Sir Philip Mawer. This Note looks at previous Codes of Conduct and at the revisions.
22.06.2005Pepper v Hart
Following the decision in Pepper v Hart in 1993, if primary legislation is ambiguous or obscure the courts may in certain circumstances take account of statements made in Parliament by Ministers or other promoters of a Bill in construing that legislation. Until that decision, using Hansard in that way would have been regarded as a breach of Parliamentary privilege.
09.06.2005Parliamentary pay and allowances
13.05.2005Modernisation: Sitting Hours
Following a number of experimental changes to the House of Commons' sitting hours, on 11 January 2005 the Modernisation Committee published a report which reviewed the experiments and outlined its recommendations for sitting hours. This Note looks at these recommendations and the Houses response to them.
17.01.2005The Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Bill [HL] 2004-5
This note describes the background to this Bill which had its second reading on 16 December 2004.
12.01.2005Constitutional Reform Bill (HL); the office of the Lord Chancellor (Bill 18 of 2004-05)
The Constitutional Reform Bill (HL) - the office of Lord Chancellor (Bill 18 of 2004/05). House of Commons Library Research Paper 05/05.
12.01.2005Building the Scottish Parliament: The Holyrood Project
This note summarises how the project for building a new Scottish Parliament progressed from the initial discussion stages in May 1997 to its completion and royal opening in October 2004. The accounts are based on the sequel of events set out in Lord Fraser's Holyrood Inquiry.
24.11.2004Freedom of Information implementation
Freedom of Information implementation. House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/84.
15.11.2004Collective Responsibility of Ministers
The collective responsibility of ministers - an outline of the issues. House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/82.
08.10.2004The "Grey" Vote - Social Indicators Page
The "Grey" Vote - Social Indicators Page. By Adam Mellows-Facer and Ross Young. SN/SG/3216.
18.08.2004The Hutton Inquiry: publication and Commons consideration; and comparisons with other inquiries
This note reviews the publication arrangements of the report of the Hutton Inquiry, and how the report was considered in the House of Commons. By way of comparison, it reviews the responses to a selection of inquiries in the House of Commons. It provides some detail on the Scott report, including calls for a debate on a substantive motion, rather than on a motion for the adjournment. For the other inquiries, it details how the inquiry report was presented to the House of Commons.
18.05.2004Parliamentary pay and allowances
Parliamentary pay and allowances. House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/40. (Replaces Research Paper 03/64).
06.04.2004Devolution in Scotland
This note looks at the process and progress of devolution in Scotland. It highlights the notable features of the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Executive and examines opinion on the current state of devolution.
20.10.2003Officers of Parliament
Originally applying to senior staff members and selected Members the term Officer of the House has now been applied to statutory officers such as the Comptroller and Auditor General and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration.
03.09.2003Corruption: Draft Legislation
A Joint Committee of both Houses into the Draft Corruption Bill (in 2003-04 session) produced an alternative approach which challenged the description of corruption at the heart of the Draft Bill, and invited 'the Home Office to bring forward a revised Bill'. In view of this recommendation it seems unlikely that new Corruption legislation will be presented in the Government's programme for 2003-04. This Note considers the main issues and criticisms of the Bill raised by the Committee.
01.07.2003UK election statistics 1945-2003
This paper has been superseded by Research Paper 12/43, UK Election Statistics: 1918-2012.
21.05.2003Breastfeeding in parliament
This note discusses the issues raised by breastfeeding in Parliament and recent developments. Comparisons are made with other legislatures. The final section deals with breastfeeding at work.
12.06.2002Parliament and Religious Disabilities
This Note examines the history of religious disabilities (as applied against Roman Catholics, nonconformists, and non-Christian religions) as they affected Ministers of the Crown and Members of the House of Commons and House of Lords, together with the current situation relating to them.
12.04.2002Lyings in State
This Standard Note gives a history of lying in state from antiquity, and looks at occasions where people have lain in state in the last 200 years.
14.12.2001The parliamentary oath
The Parliamentary Oath. House of Commons Library Research Paper 01/116.
08.11.2001Members office costs: the new system
Members office costs: the new system. House of Commons Library Research Paper 01/88.
08.11.2001Parliamentary pay, allowances and pensions: the reviews of 2001
Parliamentary pay, allowances and pensions: the reviews of 2001. House of Commons Library Research Paper 01/86.
22.10.2001Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Bill (Bill 28 of 2001-02)
Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Bill (Bill 28 of 2001/02). House of Commons Library Research Paper 01/75.
14.03.2001Regulatory Reform Bill (HL):order-making power and parliamentary aspects (Bill 51 of 2000-01)
Regulatory Reform Bill (HL):order-making power and parliamentary aspects. (Bill 51 of 2000/01). House of Commons Library Research Paper 01/27.
12.12.2000Shifting control?
Shifting control? Aspects of the executive-parliamentary relationship. House of Commons Library Research Paper 00/92.
All Select Committee Reports
30 Select Committee Reports
DateDescription
13.09.2011Parliament's role in conflict decisions - government response to the Committee's eighth report.
Government response. Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee report [Commons]
14.07.2011Select committees and public appointments.
House of Commons Liaison Committee report [Commons]
09.06.2011Cabinet Manual.
Government response. Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
10.05.2011Parliament's role in conflict decisions.
Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee report [Commons]
28.04.2011Seminar on the House of Lords: outcomes Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee seventh
Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee report [Commons]
30.03.2011Cabinet Manual.
Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
29.03.2011Privilege: Hacking of Members' mobile phones.
Standards and Privileges Select Committee report [Commons]
22.03.2011Constitutional implications of the Cabinet Manual.
Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee report [Commons]
04.03.2011Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill.
Government response. Deputy Prime Minister report [Commons]
28.02.2011Fixed-term Parliaments Bill.
Government response. Deputy Prime Minister report [Lords]
31.01.2011Work of the Committee in 2010.
Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission report [Commons]
12.01.2011Future inter-parliamentary scrutiny of EU foreign, defence and security policy.
Foreign Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]
01.12.2010Constitution Select Committee (HL) eighth report on the Fixed-term Parliaments Bill.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
08.11.2010Fixed-term Parliaments Bill.
Government response. Deputy Prime Minister report [Commons]
28.10.2010Pre-appointment hearings: House of Commons Liaison Committee second special report - further Government...
Government response. House of Commons Liaison Committee report [Commons]
12.10.2010Goats and Tsars: Ministerial and other appointments from outside Parliament and Too many Ministers?.
Government response. Public Administration Select Committee; Cabinet Office report [Commons]
11.10.2010Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill.
Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee report [Commons]
09.09.2010The Government's voting and Parliamentary reform proposals: Fixed-term Parliaments Bill.
Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee report [Commons]
27.07.2010Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill: Report for second reading.
Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee report [Commons]
05.07.2010Privileges and Conduct Select Committee (HL) first report on Mr Trevor Phillips:
Privileges and Conduct Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
15.03.2010Police Searches on the Parliamentary Estate.
Issue of Privilege (Police Searches on Parliamentary Estate) Select Committee report [Commons]
04.03.2010Goats and Tsars: Ministerial and other appointments from outside Parliament.
Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
25.02.2010Lobbying: Developments since the Committee's First Report of Session 2008-09.
Government response. Public Administration Select Committee; Cabinet Office report [Commons]
09.02.2010Allegation of contempt: Mr Trevor Phillips.
Human Rights Joint Select Committee report [Commons and Lords]
12.01.2010Legislative scrutiny: Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill; Video Recordings Bill.
Human Rights Joint Select Committee report [Commons and Lords]
14.12.2009House of Lords Liaison Committee first report.
House of Lords Liaison Committee report [Lords]
03.12.2009Parliament and the Ombudsman.
Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
29.10.2009Financial scrutiny: Parliamentary control over Government budgets.
Government response. Treasury; House of Commons Liaison Committee report [Commons]
27.10.2009House Committee (HL) fourth report on Parliamentary Passes for UK Members of the European Parliament
House Committee (HL) report [Lords]
25.06.2009Financial scrutiny: Parliamentary control over Government budgets.
House of Commons Liaison Committee report [Commons]