1. Rebels of the Chamber
Isabel Hardman has a fascinating piece looking at some of the most rebellious backbench MPs in the UK House of Commons:
Once an MP starts down the route of the serial rebel, it seems easier for the whips to leave them be. Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn, is one such example. “A whip called me once, saying: ‘I just wanted to confirm that you will definitely be voting against us tonight’,” he says. “I replied, yes, your intelligence is right.”
2. Procedure Committee releases its report on e-Petitions
In an earlier post, I reported on a hearing of the UK House of Commons Procedure Committee into the Government’s e-petitions scheme. The Committee recently released its report. Among their recommendations:
- Extra sittings: The committee’s report recommends that an extra sitting in Westminster Hall, between 4.30 and 7.30 pm on a Monday, should be created for debates on e-petitions. The sitting would take place only if the Backbench Business Committee had scheduled a debate on an e-petition. The committee proposes that this change should be introduced as an experiment and reviewed after a year.
- Government website:The committee’s report also recommends changes to the Government’s e-petitions website so that the information provided to petitioners is clearer, fuller and more accurate.
3. The Hung Commonwealth Parliament: the First Year
The 2010 Australian general election, held on 21 August, resulted in a hung Parliament, with both the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal/Nationals Coalition emerging with 72 seats each in the House of Representatives. The remaining seats were held by one Western Australia Nationals member (Tony Crook); one Australian Greens member (Adam Bandt); and four non-aligned independent members (Bob Katter, Rob Oakeshott, Andrew Wilkie, and Tony Windsor). This was Australia’s first hung parliament in 70 years. The Parliamentary Library of the Australian Parliament has produced a detailed overview of the this parliament’s first year and the various standing order changes that have been implemented to better deal with the situation.
4. The Real Outsiders
Samara Canada’s latest report looks at the politically disengaged in Canada:
First, whether they were engaged or disengaged, our participants universally condemned politics. Contrary to the notion that the disengaged are apathetic, we found that those less likely to participate were neither disinterested in nor uninformed about the system. Instead we found that their disdain for politics was driven by an intuitive understanding of how the political system functions and their previous interactions with it.