ICYMI 16 September 2015

The National Assembly of Quebec adopted a motion to put an end to clapping in the Chamber by MNAs during the daily Oral Questions. This is, in my opinion, a very good thing, and I hope other Canadian legislatures move in a similar direction. Regular readers will remember that I am not a fan of clapping in the Chamber. New Labour Party leader and Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn was front and centre for his first-ever Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs). Corbyn took a very different approach to PMQs. He put out a call to the general public asking them to submit questions he could ask of the Prime Minister and received over 40,000 responses. The Leader of the Opposition […]

Parliamentary Privilege and Prayers in the House

Recently, in response to legal action brought by the National Secular Society, Britain’s High Court ruled that Bideford Town Council had acted unlawfully by allowing prayers to be said during meetings. This decision prompted quite a backlash in the UK media, and the Government announced that it would bring in early part of the Localism Act that aims to give councils greater powers and freedom, in essence reversing the High Court’s ruling. Partly in response to this incident, the Globe and Mail’s Doug Saunders wrote an interesting column on the place of religion in public life. I don’t intend to enter into a discussion of the rightness or desirability of prayers at the start of public meetings, or the role […]

The Financial Privilege of the House of Commons

A controversial bill overhauling the UK’s social benefits system suffered a number of defeats in the House of Lords as the upper chamber rejected several provisions of the Government’s bill. When the bill was returned to the House of Commons, something happened. A committee of the House of Commons resolved that the bill “engages the financial privilege of the Commons”. In doing so, the Government was then able to declare the Lords amendments invalid, based on the financial privilege convention. What is the financial privilege of the House of Commons? As Dr Jeff King, Senior Law Lecturer at University College London, explains: Under such a privilege, the Commons is entitled to ‘disagree’ with any Lords amendment and ultimately reject it […]

Keyword post: Some answers to search results

This post will provide answers to actual search engine queries that led people to this blog. None of these would really make a full blog post on their own, which is why I’ve decided to answer a few in one post. 1. How many people did/didn’t vote for David Cameron? This one is very easy to answer. Exactly 23,796 people did not vote for David Cameron in the May 2010 general election. Cameron stood for election in the constituency of Witney, opposed by nine other candidates. Voter turnout in that riding was 57,769 (73.8%), and of that, 33,973, or 58.8% voted for Cameron, meaning 23,796 voters voted for other candidates. It is important to remember that in parliamentary systems such […]

Important Political Resources

I admit to being somewhat surprised by some of the keyword searches that bring people to this blog. It seems that too many people have no idea where to get key information – somehow they end up on this blog rather than on the sites they should be visiting to get the information they want. Consequently, I thought I would provide links to key resources based on recent keyword search activity. I will add to this post over time, as needed. Also, if any readers know of sites that should be added to this list, please comment with the link or use the site’s contact form to let me know. Topics: Election results Canada, Election results UK, general information regarding […]

Contempt of Parliament not a criminal offence

My attention was recently caught by a post on ProgressiveBloggers.ca asking if contempt of Parliament is a federal crime that can bar Prime Minister Stephen Harper from re-election. The question seems to have come from this very unfortunately blog post arguing that indeed, Harper has committed a federal offence. The short answer to the question is quite simply no. Contempt of Parliament is not a federal offence. On February 7, 2011, a Member of the Canadian House of Commons, Scott Brison rose on a question of privilege on behalf of the Committee on Finance arguing that the failure of the Government to provide the committee with financial information on the estimated cost of the F-35 aircraft, the original estimates and […]