Introduction to the UK Parliament: People, Processes and Public Participation – Free course

From the 18th September Future Learn is offering  a 3 week course which will cover

• the difference between Parliament and Government including differing roles and responsibilities
• the three parts of Parliament and the role Parliament plays in scrutinising the work of the Government
• an introduction to the work of the House of Commons and the House of Lords
• how Parliamentary Questions are used by MPs and members of the House of Lords to hold the Government to account
• the difference between oral and written questions, and how questions can be used to seek immediate answers on urgent or important matters
• what happens during Prime Minister’s Questions and public perceptions of PMQs
• debates in Parliament, including some of the rules and conventions
• the role and work of select committees
• the different types of Bill, and the process of how a Bill becomes a law
• the effect that changes in the law can have on individuals and on society, with reference to specific case studies
• the different ways the public can input in the work of the UK Parliament.

GIG award for National Library of Scotland

GIG Award2

“Troublesome to find and often overlooked”: the House of Lords papers digitisation project.

ProQuest’s U.K. Parliamentary Papers resource contains “the richest and most important nineteenth century collection of printed government records in existence in any country”; but there was a gap – namely, the papers of the House of Lords papers from 1806 onwards.  It is little known that these papers contain much which is not duplicated in the House of Commons papers.  For example, in session 1845 alone, there are 72 Lords papers which cannot be found in the Commons set; between 1801 and 1859, over 35 important papers on Canada and the USA have been noted as appearing in the Lords set but not in the Commons set.   It made perfect sense to digitise these, and after a long search for partners and funding, the House of Lords Library and the National Library of Scotland pooled their papers (the majority from NLS) for a large-scale project funded by Proquest. This makes the U.K. Parliamentary Papers resource complete and a huge and rich resource for researchers from all disciplines.

The Library garners 15% royalties from all Proquest sales (currently worth c.£85,000)

Jan Usher (project manager) and Elaine Simpson (curatorial assistant) were recently presented with the CILIP GIG (Government Information Group) Annual Award for their work on the project.

The ever expanding House of Lords

The House of Lords is now the second largest legislative chamber in the world.

David Cameron has just announced his latest list of 45 new peers, exercising his right to choose the number, timing and party balance of appointments to the House of Lords. In the face of heavy criticism, Hannah White from the Institute for Government examines Cameron’s motives for proceeding with the appointments.

The Institute for Government is an independent charity working to increase government effectiveness.

House of Commons parliamentary papers

Explore the full-text digital archive of House of Commons parliamentary papers back to 1715 with supplementary papers back to 1688 and Hansard, the Official report of debates in Parliament from both House of Commons and House of Lords from 1803-2005 via the National Library of Scotland’s licensed digital collections.
You can get remote access to this resource and many more if you are resident in Scotland with a library card

Devolution proposals process risks continued constitutional instability

The report of the House of Lords Constitution Committee’s investigation into the proposed greater powers for Scotland was published earlier in the week.

Professors Michael Keating and Nicola McEwen from the Centre for Constitutional Change gave evidence to the enquiry and the report features their remarks. Michael Keating has written on their blog on the implications of the report and the impact it may have on any forthcoming referendum on Europe.