At a time of significant structural change, the UK’s constitutional and political arrangements face unprecedented challenges. There are strong arguments to be made for increasing the level of scrutiny of constitutional reform by accountable bodies, particularly through the vehicle of the Parliamentary Select Committee. Yet, the number of Committees tasked with examining constitutional matters has decreased; in particular, the Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee was not re-appointed following the 2015 General Election. Drawing on a detailed case study of the work of this unique committee, Dr Eloise Ellis examines the implications of its dissolution for the parliamentary scrutiny of constitutional reform more broadly.
By Richard Reid 
Prior to the 2016 federal election held on 2 July, the Australian Coalition government demonstrated a rare degree of collaboration with the Australian Greens and passed changes to reform the electoral process for the Senate. This post seeks to explain the reform and its intentions, and its complete failure in the wake of Australia’s double dissolution election. Further it argues that the debate about Senate reform should go much further than these changes, and the whole structure of the Senate’s composition should be opened up for debate in an effort to increase, rather than decrease, the representativeness of the Australian Senate.
By Michael Kenny
The government’s announcement of its much anticipated proposals for the introduction of ‘English votes for English laws’ in the House of Commons, involves changes to the rules for scrutinising individual Bills, or clauses within them, that affect England, or England and Wales only. The reforms are proposed as an answer to the West Lothian question – the situation whereby MPs from the devolved territories can vote on matters that affect England only, such as Education, but English MPs cannot reciprocate on issues that are devolved. Continue reading
By Michael Keating
The introduction of English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) faces a problem, says Michael Keating, in that only a minority of English voters will ever have supported the laws in question.
The government has now come up with its answer to the West Lothian Question, that Scottish MPs can vote on English matters but not the other way around. Unfortunately, it is not the type of question that has an answer, but rather a conundrum. English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) is therefore not going to satisfy everyone or resolve the issue. It may address some immediate grievances but is a very partial response to a much bigger issue. Continue reading