The Queen’s Speech

The UK House of Commons will prorogue on 1 May 2012, and open a new session of Parliament on 9 May 2012 with a State Opening. A State Opening takes place on the first day of a new parliamentary session or shortly after a general election. The last State Opening took place on Tuesday 25 May 2010, shortly after the last general election. It is the main ceremonial event of the parliamentary calendar, attracting large crowds, both in person and watching on television and the internet. The Queen’s procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster is escorted by the Household Cavalry. However, before she travels to Parliament from Buckingham Palace, certain historical precautions are observed. First, the Yeomen of the Guard, […]

Public Perception of Access to Parliament

UK House of Commons Speaker John Bercow established the Speaker’s Advisory Council on Public Engagement (SACPE) which provides informal, independent advice from an external perspective on the programs which the House of Commons has already introduced to improve outreach and to serve as a vehicle for thinking about what Parliament needs to do to convince the public that it has reformed and that it is really relevant to them. Recently, SACPE chairperson, Professor Jonathan Drori, appeared before the House of Commons Administration Committee as part of their inquiry into Visitor Access and Facilities in the House of Commons. It was an interesting meeting. There appeared to be a degree of tension between Dr. Drori’s ideas for how Parliament should be […]

Some parliamentary reforms to look forward to in 2012

The BBC’s parliamentary correspondent, Mark D’Arcy, has an interesting look ahead  at what to expect at Westminster in 2012, with two items in particular worthy of special attention. The first will be a review of the Backbench Business Committee. I have written a number of posts about this new committee, and many readers have frequently asked if the Backbench Business Committee has been a success. By most accounts, it has, which is why the review will take on added importance. As D’Arcy notes: While the Leader of the House, Sir George Young, and his Lib Dem deputy, David Heath, are both convinced reformers, not everyone is an unalloyed fan of the new empowerment of backbenchers. “Too keen on confrontational debates”, […]