A selection of recent publications relating to parliamentary studies prepared with the assistance of the Library of Parliament (November 2019 – February 2020)
Bowden, James W.J. “The founders’ Senate – and ours.” The Dorchester Review 9 (2), Autumn/Winter 2019: 55-65.
Canada’s Upper House was (and is) supposed to be partisan…history and precedent are firmly on Scheer’s side: the Senate of the Dominion of Canada and its direct predecessor, the Legislative Council of the Province of Canada, always operated as partisan chambers. The Senate of Canada should remain partisan; however, Prime Ministers should, from time to time, nominate Senators to the Opposition benches [in] order to maintain balance and hew to the original compromise upon Confederation.
Hazell, Robert. “Can Boris Johnson simply repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act?” The Constitution Unit blog, February 5, 2020: 4p.
The Conservative manifesto pledged to repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, but was silent about what, if anything, would replace it. The author argues that it is not enough to simply repeal the Act; new legislation will have to be drafted, parliamentary scrutiny will have to take place, and the options for reform should be properly considered.
Hoyle, Lindsay. “Emerging security issues for parliamentarians and the impact on democracy.” The Parliamentarian 3, 2019: 222-23.
The Deputy Speaker of the UK House of Commons examines increasing security issues in Parliament.
Inter-Parliamentary Union. “Guidelines for the elimination of sexism, harassment and violence against women in parliament.” 2019: 67p.
These guidelines offer advice and practical information for parliamentarians and parliamentary staff on how to transform parliaments into gender-sensitive environments free from sexism and abuse.
Lilly, Alice. “Moving the Lords north would have far-reaching implications.” Institute for Government blog, January 20, 2020: 2p.
This spring, the government is planning to launch a review into the Constitution. It will assess the workings of the courts and Parliament, with ministers reportedly contemplating a permanent move for the House of Lords — away from Westminster and to a city in the north or Midlands, such as York or Birmingham.
Maddox, Bronwen. “Moving the Lords could be an inspired gesture of the government’s commitment to the regions.” Institute for Government blog, January 20, 2020: 2p.
While obstacles to relocating the House of Lords are not insuperable, the author argues that who sits in the Upper House matters more than where they meet.
Mallard, Trevor. “Fit-for-purpose Parliament: Reviewing and enhancing parliamentary effectiveness.” The Parliamentarian 100 (3), 2019: 214-21.
A case study of the Parliament of New Zealand.
Morley, Gareth. “Who’s on first? Is there a ‘modern convention’ for minority governments?” Inroads – A Journal of Opinion, 46, Winter/Spring 2020: 47.57.
Whatever the reason for Canada being one of the world’s oldest and most stable democracies, it is not because Canadians understand exactly how it works…
Patriquin, Larry. Rowman & Littlefield International – Policy Impact Series, 2020: 106p.
This book …makes a case for the creation of permanent citizens’ assemblies.
Purser, Pleasance. “Overseas Parliamentary News – December 2019: A summary of news from overseas parliaments.” New Zealand Parliamentary Library, December 2019: 5p.
Denmark – Ban on mobile phones in Foreign Policy Committee meetings – Members may no longer take their mobile phones or other electronic devices into meetings of the Folketing’s Foreign Policy Committee.
Renwick, Alan. “The government’s electoral reform agenda: an assessment.” The Constitution Unit blog, February 12, 2020: 5p.
The Johnson government is committed to maintaining the core element of the electoral system – First Past the Post. But it has indicated its intention to pursue a range of other reforms. In this post, the author assesses its agenda. Most urgent is the need to update campaign rules to reflect the digital age – but the strength of the government’s will to act here remains unclear, and recent steps that could undermine media independence are worrying. Other proposals are mixed, but some have the potential to strengthen the system.
Tonge, Jonathan. “The Recall of MPs Act 2015: Petitions, polls and problems.” The Political Quarterly, 60 (4), October/December 2019: 713-18.
Under the terms of the Recall of MPs Act 2015, there have been three recall petitions brought against MPs who have committed misconduct. The outcomes have been variable…