Alex Prior (University of East Anglia) & Cristina Leston-Bandeira (Leeds) discuss the potential for parliamentary story-telling to reach new audiences and to promote wider public engagement.
Recent decades have witnessed an increase of public distrust in politics, particularly towards core political institutions such as parliaments (Dalton 2017; Norris 2011; Hay 2007; Stoker 2006; Dalton 2004). In this context, parliaments have invested in the expansion of public engagement activities (Leston-Bandeira 2013). This is particularly evident within the UK Parliament since 2005 (Leston-Bandeira 2016), a time period that constitutes the focus of this article. Initiatives have been developed in numerous areas, from the creation of the Centre for Education in 2015 to the introduction of digital debates (also in 2015). There has been considerable experimentation with new initiatives and the way they relate to parliamentary business, or the extent to which they are developed in parallel with business. Storytelling is one of these new approaches, constituting a new means for engagement which aims to represent Parliament as relatable and relevant to citizens.
Stephen Holden Bates (University of Birmingham, UK)
Stephen McKay (University of Lincoln, UK)
Mark Goodwin (Coventry University, UK)
The results of the elections for the UK House of Commons Select Committees are out!
The 2010 Wright Reforms, designed to increase the standing of Parliament in the wake of the MPs’ expenses scandal, are now a decade old. One of the main reforms introduced was to alter the method of selection for House of Commons Select Committees from one of appointment by party managers to one of election by the whole House (in the case of chairships) and by party caucuses (in the case of membership). This reform has been hailed by many as one of the reasons why select committees have become an ever more prominent and prestigious part of Parliament. There is also evidence that the reform has been good for some aspects of gender equality within the committee system, particularly in terms of female MPs becoming committee chairs. Below we consider the outcomes of the latest round of select committee elections and argue that, in terms of female representation, they are a case of simultaneously bedding down, treading water and taking two steps forward.
In a new Political Studies article David Judge and Cristina Leston-Bandeira identify non-elected officials rather than elected members as those who ‘speak for’ and ‘act for’ parliaments as institutions most often. In this post, originally posted on The Constitution Unit, they discuss this paradox and some of their key findings in relation to the UK parliament.
Do legislative gender quotas enhance the representation of women in parliaments and legislatures? Dr Anna Gwiazda shares the findings of her new article on gender quotas in Poland.