Legislatures in Uncertain Times 

PSA Parliaments Group and Study of Scottish Parliament Group Conference

The Scottish Parliament, Friday 17 November 2017

Register here

Recent political events around the world, whether the election of Donald Trump, the rise of populist parties across Europe, or the UK’s referendum decision to leave the European Union and unexpected general election, suggest we are entering uncertain times. This has sparked debates not only over the discipline of political science (why did so few of us see this coming?), but also the very endurance of our political institutions. It is in this context that the PSA Parliaments Group and the Study of Scottish Parliament Group opens registration for its 2017 conference.

The conference is open to all members of the Political Studies Association and the Study of the Scottish Parliament Group. We welcome people working in different subject areas whose research can offer new insights into the study of parliaments and promote inter-disciplinary cooperation. Please note that membership of the PSA, SSPG or SPG is required to attend (please contact organisers if this is a problem).

Our conference will take place at the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh on Friday, 17 November. There may be an informal social gathering during the evening of Thursday 16 November: details will be confirmed depending on interest.

The conference is free but participants MUST register to attendPlease note that membership of the PSA, SSPG or SPG is required to attend (please contact organisers if this is a problem)

Places are limited and allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis. Registration closes on 10 November.

Register here


9.15am-9.45am – Registration and welcome

9.45am-10.30am – Keynote Lecture and Presentation of Essay Prize with Ken Macintosh, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament

 10.30am-11.45am – Panel 1: Communication and Engagement:

  • Cristina Leston-Bandeira (Leeds), ‘The Role of Petitions to Parliament’
  • Anikka Weerasinghe (House of Commons) and Graeme Ramshaw (WFD), ‘Examining effects of parliamentary communications on public trust’
  • Matthew Williams (Oxford), ‘How uncertain times affect the language of legislation: A comparative analysis of legal genres used at Westminster, Holyrood, and Stormont’
  • Anouk Berthier (Scottish Parliament) and Hugh Bochel (Lincoln), ‘Changing Times? The shifting gender balance of Scottish Parliament committee witnesses’
  • Alex Prior (Leeds), ‘“This infinite variety of forms”: exploring storytelling and narrative as a parliamentary means for strengthening political engagement’

11.45am-1.00pm – Panel 2: Scrutiny and Accountability:

  • Ruxandra Serban (UCL), ‘Questioning Prime Ministers: a survey of procedures in 32 parliamentary democracies’
  • Sean Haughey (Liverpool), ‘Scutiny Patterns in the Northern Ireland Assembly: An Analysis of Written Questions’
  • Thomas Caygill (Newcastle), ‘Post-legislative scrutiny of the Freedom of Information Act 2000: A case study’
  • Franklin De Vrieze (WFD), ‘Post-Legislative Scrutiny: how parliaments review the impact of legislation’

1.00pm-2.00pm – Lunch (during lunch, small tours of the Scottish Parliament will be possible, as well as opportunities to engage with a poster exhibition)

2.00pm-3.15pm – Panel 3: Supping with the Devil – the Relationship Between Politicians and the Media, and the Role of the Legislature

  • Chair: Colin Mackay, Holyrood Editor for STV News
  • Joan McAlpine MSP, Convener, Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee, and former Deputy Editor of The Herald and Editor of The Sunday Times Scotland
  • Dr Adrian Hadland, Head of Division, Communications, Media & Culture, University of Stirling
  • Angela Haggerty, columnist with The Sunday Herald and editor of CommonSpace

3.15pm-3.45pm – Coffee Break

3.45pm-5.00pm – Panel 4: Institutional Change – Design, Support and Reform:

  • Meg Russell (UCL) and Jack Sheldon (UCL), ‘An English Parliament? Some key questions of institutional design’
  • Andrew Defty (Lincoln), ‘The Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee – a committee in decline’
  • Lord Norton of Louth (Hull), ‘The importance of social space in legislatures’
  • Jessica Mulley (House of Commons), ‘Demystifying Parliamentary Practice and Procedure: The House of Commons’ Centre of Excellence in Parliamentary Practice’

5.00pm-6.00pm: Closing remarks and informal drinks reception

Register here