• In Focus

    Delegated powers and the impact on parliamentary scrutiny: Debate on two committee reports

    The House of Lords Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee (DPRRC) and the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee (SLSC) published reports in November 2021 criticising the government’s use of delegated powers. The committees are concerned about the amount delegated powers are used and how they are being used, and say it is negatively impacting parliamentary scrutiny. The government has defended its use of delegated powers but has accepted some of the committees’ recommendations to improve the system.

  • In Focus

    Revision of the Cabinet Manual: House of Lords Constitution Committee report

    The Cabinet Manual was first published in 2011. It was described as “a guide to laws, conventions and rules on the operation of government”. The House of Lords Constitution Committee ran an inquiry on the manual in 2021. Its recommendations included that a draft update be produced as soon as possible. Responding, the government agreed to produce a new draft by the end of the current parliament.

  • In Focus

    “Law but not law”

    Legislation is complete when it has finished its parliamentary journey and received royal assent. At this point it is said to be ‘on the statute book’. Before it can become active law, it must be brought into force. This is known as ‘commencement’. But what happens if provisions are not commenced?

  • In Focus

    Reform of the railways: Recent developments

    In 2021, the government announced plans to reform the railways in Great Britain, with many of the proposed changes set out in the ‘Williams-Shapps plan for rail’. In the 2022 Queen’s Speech, the government said that it would legislate for them. However, in October 2022 the government announced that it would delay this primary legislation until the next parliamentary session due to a lack of time but said that non-legislative reforms would go ahead.

  • In Focus

    The evolution of the Salisbury convention

    In recent years there have been three occasions in which leadership of the government has changed without a general election having been called. This has given rise to questions about the relationship between a government’s legislative agenda and its most recent election manifesto. This article looks at how the Salisbury convention has shaped the House of Lords’ treatment of government manifesto bills.

  • In Focus

    Addresses to both Houses in Westminster: Reigns of King Charles III and Queen Elizabeth II

    During the first week following his accession to the throne, King Charles III addressed members of both the House of Lords and the House of Commons in Westminster Hall. This article looks at this speech and the speeches made by Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Hall. This article also looks at other speeches made in Westminster Hall to members of both Houses during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.

  • In Focus

    Effects of corruption in the UK

    Corruption can be defined as dishonest and illegal behaviour by people in positions of power. It threatens national security, reduces access to services, erodes public trust in institutions and impedes investment. Measures of corruption produced by organisations such as Transparency International indicate stability in the UK’s recent global corruption rank. However, anti-corruption experts have pointed to a number of recent scandals which are leading to the perception that corruption in the UK is worsening.

  • In Focus

    A new mandate for the restoration and renewal programme

    The restoration and renewal programme was created to deliver the substantial repairs and modernisation the Palace of Westminster requires. Legislation enacted in 2019 provided for an independent sponsor body and a delivery authority to manage and oversee the works. However, the Commissions of both Houses have jointly proposed the abolition of the sponsor body and the creation of a new joint department to carry out its functions as part of a new mandate for the programme.

  • In Focus

    UK-Australia free trade agreement

    The UK-Australia free trade agreement is the first trade agreement that the UK has negotiated from scratch since leaving the EU. Whilst the government’s impact assessment suggests the economic benefit to the UK’s GDP is likely to be modest, the government has described the agreement as “historic”. The House of Lords International Agreements Committee has welcomed the agreement but has suggested that its scope had been traded off for achieving an agreement quickly.