The Queen's Speech set out the United Kingdom coalition government's legislative programme for 2014-15. It included plans for a Recall of MPs Bill to establish a recall mechanism giving constituents the opportunity to sign an petition to trigger a by-election if a member of the United Kingdom parliament was imprisoned for less than 12 months following a criminal conviction in the UK, or if the House of Commons resolved that an MP should face a recall petition.
Source: Queen's Speech, 4 June 2014, columns 1-4, House of Commons Hansard, TSO
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A private member's Bill was published that was designed to repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011.
Source: Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 (Repeal) Bill, Lord Grocott, TSO
A report by a committee of MPs said that, with the date of the next United Kingdom general election fixed for the first time by statute for 7 May 2015, there was now a unique opportunity to consider how best to use the final year, and to prepare for the next Parliament. The committee recommended: that all parties should now consider the long-term issues that would need to be addressed during the next Parliament; that arrangements for pre-election contacts between the civil service and Opposition should be formalized; that meetings should in future be authorized automatically in the final year of a Parliament; and that parties should develop a consensus on how party policy could most effectively be costed ahead of future general elections.
Source: Fixed-term Parliaments: The final year of a Parliament, Thirteenth Report (Session 201314), HC 976, House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee, TSO
Two reports examined issues related to the contact between the civil service and United Kingdom political parties in the run-up to the 2015 general election. Such contact traditionally gave an opportunity to consider potential change ahead of the election, to assist in the handover process. The first report looked at how the civil service should work with the two coalition parties, and the challenges likely to arise, in the final year of the existing term. It argued that there was a need for greater clarity on how this contact should operate, in order to avoid variation in practice, tension between the coalition parties, and confusion among officials. The second report examined pre-election contacts between the civil service and the Opposition, drawing on experiences from the post-election handover in 2010 to consider how useful such discussions were, how they operated, and whether the process might be improved.
Source: Akash Paun and Robyn Munro, Year Five: Whitehall and the parties in the final year of coalition, Institute for Government
Source: Catherine Haddon and Siddharth Varma, Pre-election Contact between the Civil Service and the Parties: Lessons from 2010, Institute for Government
A report examined the public's view of Prime Minister's Questions, a weekly session in the United Kingdom parliament when the prime minister responds to questions from MPs. It said that the public had concerns about the conduct of MPs during these sessions, with 67 per cent of survey respondents having thought there was too much political point-scoring and 47 per cent having agreed that sessions were too noisy and aggressive. The report considered the consequences for the overall reputation of parliament and MPs.
Source: Tuned In or Turned Off? Public attitudes to Prime Minister's Questions, Hansard Society
The government responded to a report by a committee of MPs on reform of the House of Lords. It said that the government supported many of the proposals, including provisions contained within the House of Lords Reform (No 2) Bill. The Bill, currently passing through parliament, would introduce a retirement scheme and provided that those who did not attend during a session, and those convicted of a serious offence, would cease to be a member.
Source: House of Lords Reform: What Next? Government response to the committee's ninth report of session 2013ï¿½14, Fourth Special Report (Session 201314), HC 1079, House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee, TSO
A report by a committee of peers examined the constitutional implications of multi-party government, how the coalition had changed or developed the conventions and practices of government and parliament, and what impact that would have on future single-party governments. It said that collective ministerial responsibility was the convention most affected by coalition government and recommended the development of a process whereby arrangements for the parties to differ on specific issues were collectively agreed and announced. The committee noted the impending election in 2015 and said that the coalition parties should now plan the use of remaining parliamentary time and make arrangements for confidential information sharing during the final months of the existing term.
Source: Constitutional Implications of Coalition Government, 5th Report (Session 201314), HL 130, House of Lords Constitution Select Committee, TSO