The constitution by topic

Constitution includes the following topic areas. Please click the links to access lists of publications by topic:

Devolution

View all briefings on devolution

Elections

  • Women in elected office in the UK

    Following the election in 2019, the highest number of female MPs were elected to Parliament. This In Focus looks at the current levels of women in politics in the UK, including in the devolved administrations and local government. It then outlines some potential barriers to increased female participation and details some developments that have been made in this area in the last couple of years.

    Women in elected office in the UK
  • Raising election spending limits in line with inflation

    The Government recently announced plans to uprate the spending limits which apply to both candidates and national parties during elections, to reflect inflation. Initially the changes will apply to the local council elections in England, due to take place in May 2021. The Government has also indicated that it would consult on changes to other polls.

    Raising election spending limits in line with inflation
View all briefings on elections

Government

  • New powers for HMRC

    The Government has proposed new powers for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to address tax avoidance, enhance information gathering, and improve tax compliance. These measures were the subject of a report from the House of Lords Economic Affairs Finance Bill subcommittee, which found that some of these powers were both disproportionate and poorly targeted.

    New powers for HMRC
View all briefings on government

Local government

  • Environment Bill: Briefing for Lords Stages

    The Environment Bill would establish a new environmental governance system, including the setting of long-term targets and the creation of an Office for Environmental Protection. It also includes measures on improving air quality, waste management and recycling, water management, biodiversity and conservation covenants. The bill is due to have it second reading in the House of Lords on 7 June 2021, having been carried over from the last session.

    Environment Bill: Briefing for Lords Stages
  • Motions on recent changes to planning rules

    The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development etc.) (England) (Amendment) Order 2021 introduces several changes to the local planning framework. It makes it easier to convert a wider range of commercial buildings to residential use; allows further development of schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, prisons and ports; and implements a ‘retain and explain’ policy for certain statues, memorials and monuments. The House of Lords is set to debate motions to reject or ‘regret’ the changes.

    Motions on recent changes to planning rules
View all briefings on local government

Parliament

  • Finance Bill

    The Finance Bill is a government bill intended to give lasting statutory effect to the tax measures announced in the March 2021 budget. The bill underwent a series of changes in its passage through the House of Commons. The House of Lords Economic Affairs Finance Bill Sub-Committee criticised a draft of the bill in some specific areas. The Government accepted some of the committee’s recommendations but rejected others.

    Finance Bill
  • House of Lords: remote participation and hybrid proceedings

    In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the House of Lords agreed to introduce virtual participation in debates to allow for social distancing and help prevent the spread of the virus. It has also introduced remote voting in divisions. This In Focus article considers the impact of these changes. It also summarises the discussions over how long these changes should be retained.

    House of Lords: remote participation and hybrid proceedings
View all briefings on parliament