Promoting Gender Equality in Parliaments

Promoting Gender Equality in Parliaments

By Jacqui Smith and Kristen Sample

Women account for half of the global population, yet represent less than a quarter of the world’s parliamentarians. The causes behind this imbalance are myriad and multi-faceted, based on culturally rooted gender norms, political institutions, and economic disparities. In other words, a woman who is elected to parliament has beaten the odds.

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Why has ‘stage two’ of House of Lords Reform not been completed after 17 years?

Why has ‘stage two’ of House of Lords Reform not been completed after 17 years?

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.

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Labour’s turmoil, the business of opposition and parliamentary democracy

Labour’s turmoil, the business of opposition and parliamentary democracy

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.

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Mary Creagh has become the new chair of the Environmental Audit Committee: will she be a catalyst or a chieftain?

Mary Creagh has become the new chair of the Environmental Audit Committee: will she be a catalyst or a chieftain?

By Marc Geddes

Please note that this blog piece has also been published on the Crick Centre blog, and is available here.

Congratulations to Mary Creagh, who has won a by-election for the chair of the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC). In addition to getting to grips with her new committee’s portfolio, Mary Creagh also faces a choice on the type of chair she wishes to be – with committee-orientated catalysts at one of the spectrum of chairs, and the leadership-orientated chieftains at the other. The choice that the newly elected chair will make will have an impact on scrutiny in the House of Commons in a range of ways. In this piece, I want to explore what it means to be a catalyst and a chieftain by drawing on interviews and observations for my doctoral research, and how this might affect Mary Creagh’s leadership of the EAC.

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