Our Parliamentary Monitor report, the first in an annual series, shows what the House of Commons and House of Lords have done in the year since the June 2017 election.
Parliament has a many-sided role in the UK’s system of democratic government. The main facets of this role include:
- representing constituents
- passing legislation
- agreeing government proposals for taxation and expenditure
- holding government to account
- facilitating national debate.
In this report we explore how Parliament has spent its time and taxpayers’ money in the year from the 2017 State Opening of Parliament. We explain the key activities undertaken by MPs and peers, what they are trying to achieve and what affects whether or not they are successful. These factors include broad historical and constitutional shifts in the relationship between government and Parliament, and the raw political calculations driven by each party’s strength in the House of Commons.
There are limits to what data can tell us about Parliament. Many elements of its role – including its value as an institution of democracy – cannot be measured. All the same, it is possible to say how parliamentary processes – such as the scrutiny of secondary legislation, or the work of select committees – are working, and to judge whether they are fulfilling their purpose.
This report is designed to help people understand how Parliament is working, help parliamentarians in proving their value to the public they represent, and show where reform is needed.