The PSA Parliaments Group is pleased to share a Call for Papers from the Birmingham-Illinois Partnership for Discovery, Engagement and Education (BRIDGE).
This week marks thirteen years since the full provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 came into force on 1 January 2005. In a new blog, based on his paper at our Legislatures in Uncertain Times conference, Tom Caygill (Newcastle University) examines the post-legislative scrutiny of the Act, carried out by the House of Commons Justice Select Committee in 2012.
The Wright reforms have been widely credited with reinvigorating select committees. In a blog originally published by Democratic Audit, Stephen Bates, Mark Goodwin (University of Birmingham) and Steve McKay (University of Lincoln) take issue with this assumption. They found the reforms have made little or no difference to MP turnover and attendance, which are driven by the parliamentary cycle. When MPs are jostling for payroll vote positions and trying to keep up with constituency duties and votes in the Chamber, select committees are likely to suffer.
When witnesses appear before select committees, Hansard records their words – but not their expressions. In a blog originally posted on Democratic Audit, Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey (LSE), analysed nonverbal behaviour in 12 economic policy committee hearings, including some in which George Osborne gave evidence. In some of the hearings with Osborne, he appears to be smirking; in others, his smiles appear genuine. She argues that gestures, expressions and tone may be pivotal in whether a policymaker’s arguments are accepted.