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Page 1: Parliament explained intro to parliament 29.01.15
Page 2: Parliament explained intro to parliament 29.01.15

Introduction to Parliament

David Lawrie, Mark Cullen & Ed Faulkner

29 January 2015

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Parliament is made up of:

a) House of Commons & House of Lordsb) House of Commons and Governmentc) Government and Monarchd) House of Commons, House of Lords

and Monarch

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What is Parliament?House of Commons House of Lords

The Monarch

The Queen

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Which TWO answers describe the work of Parliament?

a) running Government departmentsb) checking up on the work of Governmentc) being the highest court of appeal in the UKd) making new laws

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What is the role of the Queen?

• politically neutral • signs off laws passed by Parliament (Royal

Assent)• opens Parliament each session

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The core tasks of Parliament

Makes and passes laws(Legislation)

Holds Government to account

Enables the Government to set taxes

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The House of Lords

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How can you become member of the House of Lords?

a) Members of the public nominate themb) An independent Commission recommends themc) The Prime Minister chooses themd) Their titles are passed down to them through their familye) All of the above

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Membership

• 780 Members (approx.)• 665 Life Peers• 92 Hereditary Peers• 26 Bishops and Archbishops• 240 Seats in Chamber (Capacity)

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Examples

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The House of Commons

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The Government• The party with (usually) the majority of

seats in the House of Commons forms the Government

• The Government:– runs public departments (e.g. Home Office)– proposes new laws to Parliament– is accountable to Parliament

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Parliament (Westminster)

• Commons, Lords and Monarch

• Holds Government to account

• Passes laws

Government (Whitehall)

• Some MPs and some Lords, chosen by the Prime Minister

• Runs Government departments and public services

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BILLS & LEGISLATION

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Types of legislation

• Public Bills are proposed changes to general lawoGovernment Billso Private Members Bills

• Private Bills are local /one-off changes to laws

• Hybrid Bills are a mixture of the above• Delegated/Secondary Legislation

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The House of Lords pass more changes (amendments) to legislation than the House of Commons.

a) Trueb) Falsec) Both Houses pass approximately the same number of amendments

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Passage of a bill

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Scrutiny of legislation• Green Papers and White Papers• Pre-legislative committees, Draft bills• Passage of a bill

– Public Bill committees– MPs and members of the House of Lords

• Act of Parliament• Post-legislative scrutiny

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http://services.parliament.uk/bills/

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SELECT COMMITTEES

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Commons LordsOne for each Government department looking specifically at the department’s spending, policies and administration

A committee will have a minimum of 11 members, who decide upon the line of inquiry and then gather written and oral evidence.

Findings are reported to the Commons, printed, and published on the Parliament website. The government then usually has 60 days to reply to the committee's recommendations.

Other Commons Committees are involved in a range of on-going investigations, like administration of the House itself or allegations about the conduct of individual MPs.

These committees do not shadow the work of government departments. Their investigations look into specialist subjects, taking advantage of the Lords' expertise and the greater amount of time available to them to examine issues.

There are currently five major Lords Select Committees:- the European Union Committee- the Science and Technology Committee- the Communications Committee- the Constitution Committee- the Economic Affairs Committee

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List of Commons Committees

• Business, Innovation and Skills Committee• Communities and Local Government Committee• Culture, Media and Sport Committee • Defence Committee• Energy and Climate Change Committee• Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee• Environmental Audit Committee• Foreign Affairs Committee• Health Committee• Home Affairs Committee• International Development Committee• Justice Committee

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List of Commons Committees

• Northern Ireland Affairs Committee• Political and Constitutional Reform Committee• Procedure Committee• Public Accounts, Committee of• Public Administration, Select Committee on • Science and Technology Committee• Scottish Affairs Committee• Transport Committee• Treasury Committee• Welsh Affairs Committee• Work and Pensions Committee

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Select Committees• Scrutinise specific areas of work and

Government departments• Carry out public inquiries• Groups and individuals can submit

evidence• Relevant Government Department is

required to respond to report

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QUESTIONS & DEBATES

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Questions and DebatesParliamentary Questions• Written or spoken questions asked by MPs

and Lords, directed at the Government.Written Ministerial Statements• Can be in response to oral questions not

answered or ways of informing the House without coming to the chamber

Debates• Debates happen every day that the House

of Commons or the House of Lords are sitting.

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Other ways MPs can raise issues?

Petitions• Usually a call on Government for action

regarding an issue (local or national)

Early Day Motions• A published statement allowing MPs to

show their opinion on a specific subject

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Who is the only person who is allowed an alcoholic drink on the Floor of the House of Commons?

a) Speakerb) Prime Ministerc) Chancellor of the Exchequerd) Chief Whip

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• Only includes provisions on imposition and alteration of taxes to raise money for central Govt

• Controversial, important or novel provisions dealt with by Committee of whole House

The Finance Bill

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• Lords debates, but does not amend Finance Bills by convention

• Lords do not debate Finance Bills clause by clause by convention

The Finance Bill – scrutiny?

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• Government introduced fixed-term Parliaments Act

• Provision for Collection of Taxes Act amended by 2011 Finance Act to allow for carry-over of Budgets

• This will not apply for 2015 as there is dissolution of Parliament.

• This year the Budget is on 18 March 2015.

The Finance Bill – carried over

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DISSOLUTION

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Dissolution• Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011• 5 Year intervals between each

General Election• Parliament dissolved 25 working days

prior to a General Election• This year Parliament will be dissolved

on Monday 30th March 2015

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Rules and conventions ahead of a general

election• “Purdah” and election guidance for

civil servants– Pre-election period starts on 30th

March 2015 (when Parliament is dissolved)

• Pre-election contacts between the Civil Service and Opposition– Prime Minister gave permission for

these to start on 1 October 2014

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Questions?

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Where can I get information?

• www.parliament.uk and @UKParliament

• Commons Information Office020 7219 4272 [email protected]

• Lords Information Office020 7219 3107 [email protected]

• Parliament’s Outreach Service020 7219 [email protected]

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Next Seminar: Select Committees – Thursday 26 February 2015