Parliament and the political process

What does good scrutiny look like?

, 22 January 2015

Today's debate on the report of the House of Commons Governance Committee – which has considered how the House should be run in the wake of the controversy over the appointment of the next Clerk of the House – offers a brief and welcome respite from the early skirmishes in the election campaign.

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The delay with the Chilcot report is misunderstood

, 21 January 2015

Much of the political and media outrage over the further delay in publication of the Chilcot report into the Iraq war is exaggerated and misunderstands what such an inquiry involves. Of course, it would have been much better if the report had been published earlier, and the delay has damaged public confidence. But there...

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Keep calm and clarify

, 20 January 2015

The real danger is the persistence of a majoritarian way of thinking in face of fragmented election results and multi-party politics. As the ‘five days in May 2010’ showed, the absence of a single party majority requires changes in expectations and behaviour, as the Institute for Government has argued, notably in our post-election assessment...

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The laws of effective coalitions

, 20 January 2015

As an instrumental figure in the 2010 Lib Dem/Tory negotiations, it is hard to find someone better placed to give advice on effective coalition formation than David Laws. Now that we face the very real prospect of a hung parliament, this advice may be needed more than ever. As part of the Institute’s series...

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Going full Circle: Hinchingbooke collapse raises outsourcing questions

, 9 January 2015

This morning, it was announced that Circle is withdrawing from the contract under which it manages Hinchingbrooke, the UK’s first privately run NHS hospital. Announcing the withdrawal, which is permitted by the terms of its contract, Circle said: “There have been significant changes in the operational landscape for NHS hospitals since the contract was...

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Show me the money: Costing party policies in advance of the election

, 5 January 2015

This morning the Conservatives released figures calculated by the Treasury which suggest that Labour’s manifesto contains £21bn of unfunded policies. The months leading up to polling day are likely to be full of claim and counter-claim about the costs of policies. A more open and independent costing mechanism could deliver greater transparency and clarity...

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Looking ahead to the 2015 election

, 29 December 2014

No one is viewing next May’s general election with enthusiasm. The widespread expectation is of either an inconclusive result or a government without much authority.

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Guest blog: Special advisers – the unelected lynchpin

, 2 December 2014

The popular image of the special adviser resembles a political villain out of central casting. In a game of Associate, the term would be linked with: scheming, unelected, unaccountable, media, bullying, backroom boys. They are meant to be the shadowy hand operating behind the curtains of power, alternately manipulating their dull-witted political masters and...

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Let’s get fiscal: the implications of the Smith Commission Agreement

, 28 November 2014

Yesterday’s publication of the Smith Commission Agreement marked an important step in the next phase of devolution to Scotland. The five parties that took part in the Commission have achieved a remarkable feat in agreeing a wide-ranging package of new powers to be devolved.


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Smith is a major constitutional milestone – but on a road to where?

, 28 November 2014

The Smith Commission report on further devolution to Scotland sets out a package of further powers that the unionist and nationalist parties have agreed should be transferred to the Scottish Parliament. Inevitably this goes too far for some and not far enough for others. The detail of the package – which includes further tax,...

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