• Research Briefing

    Wash-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.

  • Research Briefing

    Councillors and Council Control: 1979-2009

    The following note looks at the number of councillors by party in Great Britain since 1979. In 2009 there were around 4,700 fewer councillors in Great Britain than in 1979. This is as a result of numerous changes to the structure of local authorities, particularly the introduction of unitary authorities in Wales and Scotland in 1995, when the number of councillors fell by 1,605. In 2009 the Conservatives are 5,270 councillors better off compared to 1996 when they had 4,276 councillors. Labour has less than half the number of councillors compared to 1996 (11,000). The Conservatives have also seen a gradual increase in the number of councils it controlled in England since 1998 when they had 24 compared to 209 in 2009. Labour on the other hand had seen a steady decrease since 1998 when they controlled 140 councils to the current level of 37 councils in 2009.

  • Research Briefing

    Election publications: printer and publisher details

    This note discusses the requirement in election law for a candidate's election leaflets and other documents to carry the name and address of the printer and publisher. It discusses the category of offence within which a failure to do so falls, and the other different types of election offices. It also discusses the ability of someone guilty of an 'offence' to apply for relief as a result of inadvertence.

  • 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

    Responsibilities of Returning Officers

    This Note sets out the general responsibilities of Returning Officers and Acting Returning Officers in Great Britain. They are appointed under the Representation of the People Act 1983 and are responsible for the conduct of elections.

  • Research Briefing

    Ethiopia in the run-up to May 2010 elections

    The 2005 federal and regional elections in Ethiopia produced a major political crisis. Now the electoral wheel has turned and observers are waiting to see whether the May 2010 elections will be less turbulent. This note provides a brief historical and social survey of Ethiopia. It then looks at the political situation in Ethiopia since 2005. It concludes with a short update on the state of the Eritrea-Ethiopia border dispute.

  • Research Briefing

    Donations to Members of Parliament

    From 1 July 2009 Members no longer have to report certain donations to both the Electoral Commission and Registrar of Members' Interests. The Note examines the history behind this dual requirement enacted in the Political Parties, Election and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA). Section 59 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 provided for dual registration to end, but implementation of this provision was delayed until July 2009. The Note also sets out the new limits on donations which have to be declared by Members, enacted in the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009.

  • Research Briefing

    Candidate selection-Primaries

    This Note looks at the possibility of introducing primaries into the candidate selection processes of UK political parties, following the experiment of an open primary in Totnes, Devon, by the Conservative Party. It also examines experience of primaries in the United States, where the procedure is well established.