Tag Archives: Fixed Term Parliaments Bill

House of Lords waters down fixed-term Parliaments legislation

In a vote this week the House of Lords decided to make it significantly easier for future Parliaments to change the rules for fixed-term Parliaments.

The legislation going through Parliament to remove the power of the Prime Minister to fix election dates to their own convenience cannot make them fixed in perpetuity as no Parliament can bind future Parliaments in that way. So the question is how difficult is it for a future Parliament to change the rules – and hence how rigidly fixed the terms of Parliaments really are.

The government’s proposals would have required future Parliaments to pass primary legislation …

Posted in Election law | Also tagged | 9 Comments

Weekend voting: not ruled in, not ruled out

As part of Parliament’s deliberations over the Fixed-term Parliaments Bill, this week the House of Lords debated the possibility of moving to weekend voting.

In The two electoral tests the Coalition should run, I made the point that,

Weekend voting has been once briefly trialled (in Watford a decade ago). It was not a success then, but there are good reasons to try again given the details of how the trial was conducted – especially holding the weekend elections just after the usual national round of local elections, with the result that residents in Watford were seeing in all the national

Posted in Election law | Also tagged , and | Leave a comment

Fixed-term Parliaments: better by standing orders?

Last week Malcolm Jack, the Clerk of the House of Commons, got a little flurry of media coverage for his evidence before a Parliamentary committee considering the proposed legislation for fixed-term Parliaments. “Parts of the government’s plans to bring in fixed-term parliaments are vulnerable to legal challenge” was how the BBC reported it.

It is understandable why that got the headlines, but lurking in the detail are important questions about how Parliament operates and whether its administration is competent. Jack’s evidence, and concerns about the legislation, really fall into three parts.

First, as might be expected from an official whose …

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Also tagged , , and | 11 Comments

Revealed: the AV referendum question

The wording of the question that voters will be asked in next May’s AV referendum has been published:

Do you want the United Kingdom to adopt the ‘alternative vote’ system instead of the current ‘first past the post’ system for electing Members of Parliament to the House of Commons?

The wording of the question is contained in the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill, published last week. (The question will also be made available in Welsh.) The Electoral Commission is statutorily required to consider the intelligibility of the question, before reporting back to Parliament, who will consider the comments and have …

Posted in Election law | Also tagged , , and | 1 Comment
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarGlenn 24th Jan - 11:03am
    Dreadful news that will just drag things out even longer.
  • User AvatarRoland 24th Jan - 11:01am
    @Matt (Bristol) - "But there is a qualitative difference between article 50 triggered by a government acting under prerogative that has not heard the concerns...
  • User Avatarmalc 24th Jan - 10:53am
    If Labour vote against Article 50 and that leads to a general election it will damage them very badly. Many of their seats are strong...
  • User AvatarArnold Kiel 24th Jan - 10:49am
    Proposing and voting for a referendum was always a stupid mistake because nobody, including LibDems, ever thought through the consequences. All tactical "let-the-people-decide freeriders" were...
  • User AvatarGeoff Hinkley 24th Jan - 10:44am
    The Lib Dems need to do what they can to ensure that Westminster honours the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding with the devolved legislatures. The Sewel...
  • User AvatarMatt (Bristol) 24th Jan - 10:44am
    No, Al, that's not true. Not 'only independence'. A new federal written constitution could secure the same thing, rather than our piecemeal unwritten mishmash which...