Votes of confidence, the Queen’s Speech and the Fixed-term Parliaments Act

, 6 May 2015

Being able to carry the support of Parliament is the key determinant of being a government. The issue is what kind of demonstration or defeat signifies that a government has failed to command confidence. Since 1782, the most clear-cut way in which this occurs is when a government is defeated on a vote of...

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Governing made harder by the election campaign

, 6 May 2015

This is partly because of what has been said, and not said, about the main policy challenges facing the UK in what has, at times, appeared to be a competition in gimmicky vacuity. But, at root, the system is now dysfunctional with a mismatch between what many politicians say, the expectations produced and the...

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Decentralisation and devolution must be dealt with more coherently

, 30 April 2015

Whoever forms the next government will have to address the UK question. This is more than just than the Scottish, Welsh, Northern Ireland and English questions. It is about how the various parts of the UK relate to each other, and to the Union as a whole.

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Learning to share: the balance of ministers, 2010-2015

, 30 April 2015

At the end of this Parliament, the Lib Dems in government were overrepresented by seat share, but underrepresented by vote share. At the end of this parliament, 23% of full Cabinet ministers (5 out of 22) – and 18% of all ministers attending cabinet (6 out of 33) – were Liberal Democrats. Looking across...

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Delivering English devolution: exploring the parties’ manifestos

, 29 April 2015

Given the impact of Scottish Independence referendum last year, it is hardly surprising that devolution features heavily in the manifestos. But while most of the parties agree that the next steps for devolving power to Scotland (and to a lesser extent, Wales) start with the package of measures agreed through the cross-party Smith Commission...

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No burning platforms: do this election’s manifestos suggest parties are learning to love quangos?

, 29 April 2015

In the run-up to the 2010 election there was a clear consensus on the need to rein in the quango state. David Cameron had called it inefficient and unaccountable. Gordon Brown, as prime minister, published a white paper promising reform. And even the Lib Dems were sceptics. This year’s manifestos strike a different tone....

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