Parliament and the political process

The (Not So) Fixed-term Parliaments Act

, 14 April 2015

As the SNP pointed out last week, the Fixed-term Parliaments Act could have major implications for British politics. And as Dr Catherine Haddon explains, those implications remain little understood – particularly given ambiguities in the Act which could raise big constitutional questions at just the wrong moment.

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We need clarity about the 2015 election

, 1 April 2015

The 2015 election is one of the most unpredictable in decades. But yesterday’s dissolution of parliament was the most predictable event of the year and still large parts of the media got it wrong. This does not bode well for how the period after the election will be reported. A new report by the...

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How to confound the cynics: make the next government effective

, 31 March 2015

Faith in our politics – and our politicians – is at an all-time low. At a recent event, Gus O’Donnell and Patricia Hewitt responded to a new set of reports examining how the next government can deliver on its promises. Matt Ross reports

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Women uncovered: gender imbalance in politics and the media

, 26 March 2015

The 2010 election was dominated by male politicians talking to male correspondents. Jen Gold hears three journalists consider whether women are likely to play a bigger role in the coverage of this election – both as journalists, and as parliamentary candidates

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More dangerous liaisons?

, 24 March 2015

Today the House of Commons Liaison Committee – the Committee made up of the Chairs of the House’s 34 select committees – has published its Legacy Report on select committees in the 2010-15 parliament. Hannah White assesses the report and argues for reform of the Liaison Committee itself.

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Rollercoaster or not, arguing over spending cuts is a pointless task

, 19 March 2015

After crunching the Treasury’s numbers the Office for Budget Responsibility claimed that the Chancellor’s plan would lead to a ‘rollercoaster profile’ of public spending, with drastic cuts in the next two years allowing for a splurge in spend the year after. The squeeze on departmental budgets, the OBR warned, will be ‘much more severe...

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No need to be scared of minority government; just think positive

, 19 March 2015

The UK has just about got used to the idea of coalition – but this unpredictable election may make even a formal coalition non-viable. Catherine Haddon hears veterans of minority government argue the case for this much-maligned alternative.

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Might Cameron shut Parliament early?

, 17 March 2015

As the first fixed-term parliament draws to a close, Hannah White asks whether the Prime Minister might exercise the small degree of discretion left to him by the Fixed-Term Parliament Act and call an early halt to business in Parliament

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Second time around? Lessons for another coalition

, 12 March 2015

What are the prospects of a second coalition? At an Institute for Government event on Tuesday, the panellists were in agreement: brokering agreement would be much tougher this time round. The markets' demand for political stability – a key factor in the 2010 talks –is less pressing now, and backbenchers and party members are...

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One direction: first accounting officer ministerial direction published since 2010

, 27 February 2015

The Secretary of State for Transport has formally instructed his Permanent Secretary to act in a way that, under Treasury rules, offers poor value for money. Is it a crisis of civil service confidence in ministers? Or is it evidence of fractious relations at the top of Whitehall? The answer to both questions is...

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