How does Parliament govern itself? Who controls the business and procedures in both Houses? Which individuals and bodies provide leadership, and how are their powers distributed? Do MPs and Peers have sufficient resources to perform their legislative and scrutiny functions?
The recent 2020 World e-Parliament Report, produced by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), captures a picture of modernising parliaments, transformed by the strategic use of digital technologies. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated pre-existing trends and will leave a lasting impact, especially if parliaments now embed the lessons learned.
Can the government rely on provisions in national security legislation to refuse to provide unredacted documents to a House of Commons committee when ordered to do so by a resolution of the House? Should, or can, resolution of this question be made by the courts, or only within the House? In a current case, Canada’s House and courts face these questions.
In a recent report the House of Commons Privileges Committee recommended the creation of a new criminal offence to deal with the rare problem of recalcitrant select committee witnesses. The proposal is narrow and looks workable. However, it remains controversial, and the Committee has invited further views, with final proposals expected later in 2021.
The Hansard Society hosted two online hustings for the candidates in the 2021 Lord Speaker election. The first event, on 25 March, was chaired by the BBC’s parliamentary correspondent Mark D’Arcy; and the second, on 13 April, was chaired by Jackie Ashley, former political correspondent and broadcaster.
There was controversy on 9 February over whether the government had used procedural trickery to swerve a backbench rebellion in the House of Commons on a clause inserted in the Trade Bill by the House of Lords. Apparently, it was something to do with ‘packaging’. What does that mean, and was it true? The answer is all about ‘ping-pong’.
Politics in Autumn 2020 will continue to be dominated by Coronavirus and the negotiations with the EU, as the end of the post-Brexit transition period approaches on 31 December. But what will this mean for parliamentary business in the coming months, and what scope will there be to tackle other issues? We pick 15 things to look out for.