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Flashcards in Parliament- Reform of the House of Commons Deck (11)
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Why did the Government introduce changes to the Commons?

The changes it introduced aimed to modernise the Commons out-dated procedures rather than shift power from the executive to the legislature.


Which scandal gave additional motivation to reform the Commons?

The MPs expenses scandal.


What was the name of the Select Committee on the Reform of the House of Commons?

A Select Committee on reform of the House of Commons - The Wright Committee - was established but its recommendations were not implemented until after the 2010 election.


What were the 6 changes made to the House of Commons under Labour?

- Pre-legislative scrutiny
- Carry-over of legislation
- Modernisation Committee
- Liaison Committee
- Westminster Hall Sittings
- Hearings on public appointments


What is pre-legislative scrutiny?

Greater scrutiny of draft bills prior to the formal legislative process.


What is meant by carry-over of legislation?

Bills that fail to get through the legislative process in one parliamentary session can complete the process in the next, provided they pass in one calendar year.


What is the modernisation committee?

This was set up to consider the reforms of the Commons procedures. Recommendations included changes to working hours.


What is the Liaison Committee?

Since 2002, the PM has faced questions from this committee twice a year. This allows for greater scrutiny than occurs in the more partisan atmosphere of the chamber.


What are the Westminster Hall sittings?

These sittings deal with non-controversial issues, select committee reports and motions chosen by the Backbench Business Committee.


What are hearings on public appointments?

Since 2008, select committees have held pre-appointment hearings for public appointments to some 60 positions (e.g. chair of Ofcom, Governor of the Bank of England). They do not have veto power. The government’s candidate for Children’s Commissioner for England was not endorsed by the select committee but was still appointed.


The devolution of primary legislative powers to Scottish Parliament, Northern Ireland Assembly and, since 2011, the Welsh Assembly has changed procedures in the House of Commons. Give examples:

- Westminster no longer makes law on policies that have been devolved
- Questions on devolved matters can no longer be addressed to UK government ministers at Westminster
- Westminster can make law for Scotland on devolved areas when the Scottish Parliament requests that it does so through the 'Sewell Motion' procedure.