A report by a committee of MPs said that the existing European Committee system should be enhanced, made recommendations about scheduling and conduct of debates in the House of Commons, and suggested the creation of a new session of 'EU Questions'. It said that the United Kingdom should introduce a form of national veto over European Union legislative proposals, and then explore the 'disapplication' of parts of the existing European Union obligations.
Source: Reforming the European Scrutiny System in the House of Commons, Twenty-fourth Report (Session 201314), HC 109-I, House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee, TSO
A public Bill was published, designed to enable 'supremacy of the sovereignty' of the United Kingdom parliament in relation to its membership of the European Union. The bill would enable the 'disapplication' of parts of the United Kingdom's obligations under European Union legislation, as discussed by the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee.
Source: United Kingdom Parliament (Sovereignty) Bill, TSO
A report by a committee of MPs proposed further reforms to the House of Lords, including: removal of peers who were convicted of a serious criminal offence; a stronger voluntary retirement scheme; not replacing hereditary peers; and the removal of persistent, unauthorized non-attenders. The report said that further consideration should be given to a statutory Appointments Commission, and fixed-term appointments to the House.
Source: House of Lords Reform: What next?, Ninth Report (Session 2013-14), HC 251, House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee, TSO
An article examined the report of the Commission on the Consequences of Devolution for the House of Commons (the McKay Commission).
Source: Iain McLean, 'Report of the Commission on the Consequences of Devolution for the House of Commons', Political Quarterly, Volume 84 Issue 3
An article examined the role played by the Commons Environmental Audit Committee in determining policy on sustainable development.
Source: John Turnpenny, Duncan Russel, and Tim Rayner, 'The complexity of evidence for sustainable development policy: analysing the boundary work of the UK Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee', Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Volume 38 Issue 4
A report by a committee of peers said that the government should do more to inform Parliament when ministers proposed to take action before Parliament had passed the legislation that would make that action legal. Recent examples under the coalition government included: the reorganization of primary care trusts into management clusters before the Health and Social Care Act 2012 had become law; and the winding up of the Youth Justice Board and Regional Development Agencies before their abolition under the Public Bodies Bill.
Source: The Pre-Emption of Parliament, 13th Report (Session 2012-13), HL 165, House of Lords Constitution Select Committee, TSO
An official report said that parliamentary legislation was excessively complex, and called for regulations to be made easier to understand by non-specialists.
Source: When Laws Become Too Complex, Office of the Parliamentary Counsel (Cabinet Office)
An article examined recent trends in the number of minority-ethnic Members of Parliament, including the end of the Labour Party's 'virtual monopoly' on minority parliamentary representation. There was a new commitment to increased minority representation, with both Labour and Conservatives employing a variety of strategies for increasing it. The strategy to select more minority candidates in 'white' seats was key to increasing the numbers of minority parliamentarians, and signalled a departure from the traditional pattern of minority-ethnic politicians being elected by ethnic minorities.
Source: Maria Sobolewska, 'Party strategies and the descriptive representation of ethnic minorities: the 2010 British General Election', West European Politics, Volume 36 Issue 3
An article examined variations in the extent to which black and minority-ethnic (BAME) Members of Parliament used the House of Commons to articulate issues relevant to minority constituents. BAME MPs asked more questions relating to the problems and rights of ethnic minorities in, and immigration to, the United Kingdom. But all British MPs were responsive to the interests of minority constituents where these were geographically concentrated. MPs responded systematically to electoral incentives, especially in the politically salient area of immigration policy.
Source: Thomas Saalfeld and Daniel Bischof, 'Minority-ethnic MPs and the substantive representation of minority interests in the House of Commons, 2005–2011', Parliamentary Affairs, Volume 66 Issue 2