• Research Briefing

    Reform 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stated that the draft Bill would be published in December 2010 but more recent statements have indicated that it will not be published until the New Year.

  • Research Briefing

    Progress of the Public Bodies Bill [HL] 2010-11

    This note briefly sets out the outcome of the review of public bodies before providing information on the progress of the Bill in the Lords so far. There is a Library Standard Note SN/PC/5609, Quangos, which sets out the background to the bill and general information about the 'quango debate'.

  • Research Briefing

    Quangos

    This note provides a short history of public bodies in the United Kingdom before looking at the size and cost of the quango state. It considers why the number and cost of quangos has been hard to control. It then looks at the accountability of public bodies and appointments mechanisms. It also sets out the main provisions of the Public Bodies Bill [HL] as introduced. The Library Standard Note SN/PC/5845, Progress of the Public Bodies Bill [HL] 2010-11 provides more detailed information on the Bill

  • Research Briefing

    The Act of Settlement and the Protestant Succession

    This note sets out the legal background to the rules surrounding the succession and then considers the historical background and context for the limitations on religious beliefs of the monarch and their spouse before looking at how the legislative restrictions could be removed. Lastly, it sets out recent attempts to change the laws of succession.

  • Research Briefing

    Resignation, 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".

  • Research Briefing

    Fixed-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.

  • Research Briefing

    Financial 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.

  • Research Briefing

    The 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.

  • Research Briefing

    The Church Commissioners

    This note sets out the background to the creation of the Church Commissioners in 1948, their main functions, their composition, and their relationship with the House of Commons.

  • Research Briefing

    Reform 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.

  • Research Briefing

    Proposals 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.