• Research Briefing

    House 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.

  • Research Briefing

    Proposals 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.

  • Research Briefing

    Local Authorities (Overview and Scrutiny) Bill 2009-10: Committee Stage Report

    This is a report of the Committee Stage of the Bill. It complements Research Paper 10/09, which gives more detail on the provisions of the Bill. The Bill strengthens local government overview and scrutiny committee powers in relation to partner organisations, so that they could potentially cover a greater range of external authorities. The Bill has Government support and was not amended in Committee.

  • Research Briefing

    Reform 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.

  • Research Briefing

    Constitutional 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.

  • Research Briefing

    The 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.

  • Research Briefing

    Local Authorities (Overview and Scrutiny) Bill [Bill 16 of 2009-10]

    The Bill is based on proposals in the 2009 Communities and Local Government Green Paper 'Strengthening Local Democracy'. The Bill strengthens local government overview and scrutiny committee powers in relation to partner organisations, so that they could potentially cover a greater range of external authorities. The activities which would be subject to such scrutiny are defined as matters of local concern in the area. The Bill provides for executive members to sit on committees involved in scrutiny of external bodies. It also makes provision for the resourcing of overview and scrutiny.

  • Research Briefing

    Religious 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.

  • Research Briefing

    Misconduct 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.

  • Research Briefing

    Governance 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.

  • Research Briefing

    Constitutional 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.