• 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.

  • Research Briefing

    Bill of Rights 1689

    This Note sets out the historical background to the Bill of Rights 1688-89 and examines how its provisions have altered in the intervening centuries. Its role as part of the uncodified constitution of the United Kingdom is also discussed.

  • Research Briefing

    Power2010

    This note provides an overview of the Power inquiry in addition to the Power2010 campaign launched by Baroness Kennedy QC on 15 September 2009.

  • Research Briefing

    Judicial appointments

    This note provides background to the recent changes to the judicial appointments system in England and Wales, starting with the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, which established the Judicial Appointments Commission. Further changes to eligibility for appointment were made under the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, which changed the criteria for appointment to a number of judicial offices. The Governance of Britain Green Paper suggested that there would be additional changes to the system of judicial appointments. In March 2008, the Government published a White Paper and a Draft Bill setting out the proposed amendments.

  • Research Briefing

    Parliamentary 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.

  • Research Briefing

    Progress of the Political Parties and Elections Bill 2008-09

    The Political Parties and Elections Bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 17 July 2008 and was carried over from the 2007-08 session. The Bill received Royal Assent on 21 July 2009. This Note summarises the debates and changes made to the Bill in the House of Commons and the House of Lords after Committee stage in the Commons

  • Research Briefing

    Members’ Allowances

    On 22 January 2009, the House of Commons agreed to a new version of the Green Book, rules on Members' allowances and changes to the audit regime for Members' allowances. The new Green Book came into effect on 1 April 2009. This paper reviews developments that led to the revision of the Green Book; the background to changes made since it was published; and the decision by the Committee on Standards in Public Life to inquire into Members' expenses. See also Research Paper 09/61 which covers the Parliamentary Standards Bill.

  • Research Briefing

    Parliamentary 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.

  • Research Briefing

    MPs’ allowances and FoI requests

    This Standard Note sets out details of the major FoI requests made to the House of Commons since the introduction of the right to make individual requests in January 2005. It also describes the actions taken by the House of Commons in response to the requests and subsequent decisions by the Information Commissioner, the Information Tribunal and the High Court.

  • Research Briefing

    Suggestions 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.

  • Research Briefing

    The 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.