The Clerk of the House is the principal constitutional adviser to the House, and adviser on all its procedure and business, including Parliamentary privilege.

Row over the selection of a new Clerk for the House of Commons

Earlier this year, the Clerk of the UK House of Commons, Sir Robert Rogers, announced that he would be retiring at the end of August. Traditionally, a new clerk is appointed from within, but in this instance, the Speaker of the House of Commons announced that the position would be advertised. After an exhaustive selection process conducted by a panel chaired by Speaker Bercow, it was announced that the successful candidate was an Australian, Carol Mills, the Director of Parliamentary Services in Canberra. The decision has been met with great consternation. Both parliamentarians and parliamentary observers deem Ms. Mills to be unsuited for the post. That said, the concern over the choice of Ms. Mills has been largely confined to […]

The Primacy of the Commons and Lords Reform

As I have previously written, the UK Government has brought forward a draft bill on reforming the House of Lords. A Joint Select Committee – meaning a committee with membership drawn from both the House of Commons and the Lords – has been holding a series of meetings hearing from constitutional and other experts. I have been following some of these hearings with great interest, either watching the meetings on the UK Parliament website, or reading through the written evidence, and sometimes both. If there has been a common theme emerging, it would be the issues of whether a partially or fully elected Lords will challenge the primacy of the House of Commons. The consensus, at this stage, would seem […]

Inside the UK House of Commons

In an earlier post, I described the interior of the Canadian House of Commons. In this post, I will provide readers with an overview of the layout of the British House of Commons. The Chamber of the House of Commons is at the northern end of the Palace of Westminster; it was opened in 1950 after the Victorian chamber had been destroyed in 1941 and re-built under the architect Giles Gilbert Scott. The Chamber measures 14 by 20.7 metres, which is smaller than the Canadian Chamber (16 by 21 metres). This is noteworthy because there are more than twice as many MPs elected to the UK House of Commons (650). It is impossible for all MPs to sit in the […]