On the last afternoon of the final parliamentary session before the Christmas recess, Theresa May could put it off no longer and appeared before the Liaison Committee. Here Ben Worthy, viewing the session from outside, considers how she performed. Mark Bennister, utilising his new parliamentary academic fellowship looks at the Committee performance having watched the session from the Committee room.
By Peter Dorey
House of Lords reform remains unfinished business, and looks likely to remain so for a long time yet. The preamble to the 1911 Parliament Act portentously proclaimed that Lords reform was ‘an urgent question which brooks no delay’, yet more than a century later, there have been only sporadic and inchoate reforms. Moreover, these have often been motivated by calculations of partisan advantage, even when depicted as being derived from important political principles. After the 1911 Act, the remainder of the twentieth century witnessed only three further laws pertaining to House of Lords reform: the 1949 Parliament Act, which reduced the Second Chamber’s power of delay (veto) of legislation from two years to one; the 1958 Life Peerages Act, which established a new category of appointed peer to sit alongside the hereditary peers; the 1999 House of Lords Reform Act, which removed most of the hereditary peers, but allowed 92 to remain pending further reform.
By Jake Watts
Ralph Miliband’s Parliamentary Socialism celebrates its 55th anniversary this year. A key historical work, it examined the relationship between the Labour Party and the UK Parliament. From a Marxist perspective, it argued that the failure of the British Left to achieve radical strides towards unadulterated socialism could be in substantial part attributed to the acquiescence of the Labour Party to the rules and norms of the United Kingdom’s parliamentary democracy. In putting forth such an argument, Miliband struck at the heart of a debate about the relationship between Labour and Parliament that underpins the disunity that now threatens the party’s efficacy as Her Majesty’s Opposition.
Please note that this blog piece was originally published on the Crick Centre blog, and is available here. This piece has been re-published with permission from the author.
By Marc Geddes
The killing of Jo Cox on Thursday was a horrific attack on British democracy, which happened in the context of an increasingly bitter and hostile referendum campaign on UK membership of the European Union. Today, this attack overshadows every aspect of British politics, but more broadly it is arguably the extreme tip of an ‘anti-politics’ iceberg that is extending across the western world.