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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