In our proceedings every Member should be heard courteously, whatever views he or she is expressing. Members of this House have a duty to behave with civility and fairness in all their dealings.
The UK House of Commons directs the Speaker to make a statement at the beginning of each Session about the duties and responsibilities of honourable Members. This is what Speaker Bercow said: I begin by reminding Members of their duty to observe the code of conduct agreed by the House and to uphold the seven principles of public life that underpin it: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. The House asserts its privilege of freedom of speech. It is there to ensure that our constituents can be represented by us without fear or favour. It is an obligation on us all to exercise that privilege responsibly. It is enjoyed by Members of Parliament only in their work in […]
I was fortunate enough to work closely with the PCRC, (...) during the 2010-15 Parliament. It carried out groundbreaking investigations into previously neglected areas, including a consideration of the possibility of a code for independent local government. Its inquiry into the idea of a written constitution for the United Kingdom was the first ever to be conducted.
It is without exaggeration that I write that I was quite saddened to learn today that my favourite UK House of Commons Select Committee, The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee (PCRC) has been abolished. Yes, I am that much of a parliament geek that I had a favourite select committee. The PCRC was created at the start of the previous Parliament, in 2010, to scrutinize the work of the Deputy Minister Nick Clegg who was responsible for the coalition government’s rather ambitious constitutional reform agenda. The Committee did just that, and much more, as Andrew Blick reports, and there would have been a lot more good work to be done in this new Parliament. I thought that the decision to […]
I know the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition was far from perfect (as is the case for all governments), but for this politically despondent Canadian, it was inspiring. In fact, it was so inspiring, I started this blog. The new UK Parliament sat for the first time on 18 May to elect the Speaker. I started this blog that day and my first post appeared on May 21 2010.
Around this time five years ago, I was quite despondent about the state of politics here in Canada. I was finding it increasingly difficult to pay any attention to the news, simply because it would only further anger and frustrate me. Part my job requires that I follow parliamentary events in other jurisdictions, and so I was paying nominal attention to the 2010 UK election campaign. I wasn’t on Twitter at the time, so relied on UK online media. My interest grew as talk of a “hung parliament” — words never heard here in Canada — came to dominate. I was startled by the number of studies and opinion pieces in the press by Constitutional and political experts explaining government […]
This is also the main reason why I really don't like the use of the term "minority parliament". I would much prefer it if Canadian reporters used "hung parliament" or "balanced parliament"; that way, much of this sort of confusion could be avoided.
It’s become painfully clear to me that a number of reporters and columnists who cover politics don’t fully understand how a Westminster parliamentary democracy works. I’ve written a number of posts dissecting really, really bad articles, but even in mostly good pieces, you often find one or two glaring howlers. Here are a few recent examples. The general election on May 5 in the Canadian province of Alberta is shaping up to be one of the most interesting in decades and could possibly result in the end of 44 years of Progressive Conservative (PC) Party governance. However, political polling being rather hit and miss these days — and it was certainly a miss in the 2012 Alberta general election — […]