• In Focus

    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.

  • Research Briefing

    Ministerial and other Maternity Allowances Bill: Briefing for Lords Stages

    The bill would create a discretionary power to enable ministers and certain Opposition office holders to take six months paid maternity leave subject to certain conditions. This briefing considers: the background to the bill; what it would do; what happened during its passage through the House of Commons; and the wider reaction to the bill.

  • In Focus

    Lords public bill stages: “That this bill do now pass”

    The motion “that this bill do now pass” is moved immediately after a bill’s final stage in the House of Lords (known as third reading). It is amendable and so provides an opportunity for the House to oppose, delay or record a view on a measure if there is enough support. This article provides examples of amendments to the motion and what the outcome was each time.

  • In Focus

    Judicial review: Time for change?

    Judicial review involves a judge reviewing the lawfulness of a decision that has been made by a public body. Following the Government's announcement of an independent review that will consider if judicial review reform is needed, this article looks at what judicial review is, and recent debates about whether the process is working.

  • In Focus

    Proxy voting and the House of Lords

    Members of the House of Commons may now vote by proxy in certain circumstances. In contrast, the practice has been prohibited in the House of Lords for over 150 years. What is the background to the rule against proxy voting in the second chamber?

  • In Focus

    Flags on Northern Ireland government buildings

    The draft Flags (Northern Ireland) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 would make changes to regulations governing the flying of flags on government buildings in Northern Ireland. They would remove one building from the list of sites where the Union flag must be flown and add two others. They would also add the birthdays of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and of the Duchess of Cornwall, to the dates on which the Union flag must be flown.

  • In Focus

    Bullying allegations, the Home Secretary and the ministerial code

    On 2 March 2020, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Michael Gove, confirmed that his department would investigate alleged breaches of the ministerial code by the Home Secretary, Priti Patel. As at 29 October 2020, the results of that investigation are unclear. The issue of when a report may be published will be the subject of an oral question in the House of Lords on 2 November 2020.

  • In Focus

    Covid-19 regulations: Face coverings—updates

    During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government has introduced requirements to wear face coverings in specified locations. These have been updated several times, to broaden the scope of the rules and to increase the financial penalties for non-compliance. This article looks at the requirements imposed by three instruments that came into force on 23 and 24 September 2020 and are being debated in the House of Lords on 12 October 2020.

  • In Focus

    Debate on the temporary provisions in the Coronavirus Act 2020

    The Coronavirus Act 2020 was passed on 25 March 2020 and gave the Government various new powers to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak. The act stipulates that the House of Commons must have the opportunity to decline to renew certain of these powers every six months. A parallel debate on the temporary provisions in the act is to take place in the House of Lords on 28 September 2020.

  • In Focus

    Blackburn with Darwen and Bradford local lockdown

    In July 2020, a local lockdown was introduced in Blackburn with Darwen and in Luton. This followed the introduction of similar measures in Leicester. In August 2020, Luton was taken out of local lockdown. At the same time, restrictions were introduced for Bradford. This article summarises the measures introduced and how they have changed over time.