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 Mark Egan
What makes a parliament effective? What are the factors which make parliaments better at making laws or representing the people? These issues were discussed during the PSA Parliaments and Legislatures annual conference in October 2016. I spoke from the perspective of a parliamentary practitioner with experience of the UK and Jersey about the additional challenges faced by small parliamentary bodies in achieving the Holy Grail of effectiveness.
On 31 October 2016, the House of Commons agreed, without debate, to approve the draft Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011 (Continuation) Order 2016. If agreed by the Lords, the order will continue in force the Home Secretary’s powers under the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011, namely to impose, via a ‘TPIM’, a range of duties, obligations and restrictions on suspected terrorists. That power was due to expire on 13 December 2016, five years after its enactment, because of the incorporation in the legislation of a sunset clause – a legal provision that provides for the expiry of a law or part of a law at a later date. Unless the House of Lords defies parliamentary convention and does not approve the continuation order, it is unlikely that the TPIM powers will now expire. This does not necessarily mean that the sunset clause has failed; after all, it may be that the TPIM powers are an important and useful part of the UK’s counter-terrorism regime and warrant extension. The imposition of six new TPIMs by the Home Secretary in the past three months suggests that the government believes this to be the case. Continue reading
By Andrew Defty
The weekly Prime Minister’s Questions is undoubtedly an important mechanism for holding the government to account. The requirement that the Prime Minister must come to the chamber of the House of Commons on a weekly basis to answer questions about government policy and administration provides a valuable, and rare, opportunity for individual MPs to scrutinise government.