Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Divisions in the House of Commons

If you click on the link below you'll be taken to a clip of the House of Commons whilst a division takes place. In the photographs which follow you have the notes I made from Erskine May which go in order through the elements in that division.                   [CLICK ON THESE TO EXPAND]  
                                                                                                                                  I hope it will give you a deeper understanding of the process.

Just a few words of explanation. The clip starts with the Minister (Nadine Dorries) responding to an Opposition Day debate on health inequalities. Then the Opposition Chief Whip moves closure (an issue I will deal with in a later post). The key words are "the question now be put". which is agreed to unopposed.

Then the Speaker puts the question "that the original words stand part of the question." - these original words were - 

"That this House notes the publication of Health Equity in England: The Marmot Review 10 Years On; is concerned by its findings that since 2010 improvements to life expectancy have stalled for the first time in more than 100 years and declined for the poorest women in society, that the health gap between wealthy and deprived areas has grown, and that the amount of time people spend in poor health has increased across England; agrees with the review that these avoidable health inequalities have been exacerbated by cuts to public spending and can be reduced with the right policies; and calls on the Government to end austerity, invest in public health, implement the recommendations of the review, publish public health allocations for this April as a matter of urgency, and bring forward a world-leading health inequalities strategy to take action on the social determinants of health."

As you'll see the government backing members don't want that wording - so there is a division on the question "that the original words stand part of the question." which they will oppose.

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

The Liaison Committee

Tomorrow (20th May) - there will be discussion and then a vote on a motion concerning the Chair of the Liaison Committee -

That -
(1) With effect for the current Parliament, notwithstanding Standing Order No. 121 (Nomination of select committees), the Members elected by the House or otherwise chosen to be chairs of each of the select committees listed in paragraph (2) shall be a member of the Liaison Committee;
(2) The committees to which paragraph (1) applies are: ......
(3) Sir Bernard Jenkin shall also be a member, and the chair, of the Liaison Committee.

Amendment (a) 
Ms Harriet Harman 
Yvette Cooper 
Hilary Benn
Meg Hillier
Ian Mearns
Sarah Champion (plus others)...

Line 43, leave out paragraph (3) and insert-

“(3) The chair of the Liaison Committee shall be a current chair of a Select Committee.“.

Amendment (b)
Mr Peter Bone
Nigel Mills

Line 43, leave out paragraph (3) and insert-

“(3) The chair of the Liaison Committee shall not be a current chair of a Select Committee, but a member from the governing party, elected under arrangements made by the Speaker as if Standing Order 122 B applied.”.

It might sound a bit parochial - but there are key issues at stake. I would encourage you to read the Report prepared by the Hansard Society. It is called

"Who chooses the scrutineer? Why MPs should resist the government's attempt to determine the Liaison Committee chair" - and is available via the link below


Monday, 20 April 2020

The National Constitution Center

A few years ago, whilst on a family holiday in Pennsylvania - we drove down to Philadelphia - and part of that visit involved a tour of the National Constitution Center. Well worth a visit - though as with many buildings at the moment - it is closed during the Coronavirus Crisis.

However the work of the Center continues. There are some excellent resources available online. I spent some time exploring what is currently available - and was excited at what was available. The website to go to is https://constitutioncenter.org

I was particularly impressed by the range of videos available - which you can access here.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

"Washminster" - from J David Morgan: A New Tomorrow?

"Washminster" - from J David Morgan: A New Tomorrow?: I am convinced that when this crisis is over - we will be in a "1945 situation" - where the systemic failings of our system of g...

A New Tomorrow?

I am convinced that when this crisis is over - we will be in a "1945 situation" - where the systemic failings of our system of government; of our economic structure; of our health & education infrastructure etc - will be recognised - and as in 1945-51, action taken to rebuild learning from these failures.

We've been reminded in the last 50 years how eventually history is forgotten - those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it!!! (all those lessons about the inability of a minimalist state to run a sustainable economy, the value of a robust national health system etc) - but we can for a generation or more build a better system.

Politics matters!

As citizens, we can build our knowledge of key issues - and don't under-estimate the value of understanding procedures (aka - how to get things done in decision making institutions - be they Council or Parliament) - but on issues themselves - the House of Commons Library is an excellent source of well written, non-partisan material on issues

ANYONE can sign up to briefings from the House of Commons Library - https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/subscribe/

In the USA the Congressional Research Service is an excellent source of non-partisan material