Representative democracy is not a universal, one-size-fits-all model. There is much to learn from how other parliaments around the world work. And through the Global Research Network on Parliaments and People, we support researchers in other countries to conduct ‘critical friend’ scrutiny of their own parliaments.
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.
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 Coronavirus pandemic has presented parliaments with significant technical, procedural and political challenges, at Westminster and around the world. This page brings together our Covid-19 content, covering the UK Parliament’s adaptation to the crisis, UK Coronavirus-related Statutory Instruments, and the responses of other legislatures around the world.
Articles on themes including the development of Sweden’s now 100-year-old parliamentary democracy, strategic voting among Lib Dem supporters in the 2015 general election, policy areas associated with personal attacks at Prime Minister’s Questions, UK intergovernmental relations and spending after the Conservative-DUP ‘confidence and supply’ deal, and more.
In Ireland, the Covid-19 crisis collided with a ‘change election’, the formation of a historic coalition government and the ‘end of Civil War politics’. But the pandemic sucked much of the oxygen out of a heightened political atmosphere, and also occasioned the physical relocation of Parliament, challenging the institution’s operation and culture.
When countries are facing a national health emergency, the work of parliaments is as important as ever: to scrutinise government decisions, to authorise expenditure, to pass legislation. But how are legislatures around the world responding to the challenges posed by the pandemic, and what are the key issues involved in moving to a ‘virtual’ operation?