APPG Party Funding – Podcast

The Constitution Society provides organisational and secretarial support for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the British Constitution, chaired by Lord Norton of Louth. The Group works to broaden legislators’ knowledge base and improve the quality of debate on proposals for constitutional change and the way in which they are introduced.

We are excited to announce that the APPG meetings will now be available to listen to as podcasts. The most recent meeting of the APPG on the Constitution was on on the subject of Party Funding

The speakers, in order of appearance, were:

  • Sir Christopher Kelly, Chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life
  • Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance and Campaign Director of NOtoAV
  • Professor Keith Ewing, King’s College London and Unions Together

You can listen to the podcast on our website here. If you would like to download the podcast simply right click the link above and select ‘save as’.

Select Committees Parliamentary Launch

Following The Constitution Society’s successful Parliamentary launch event held on the 13th June we are pleased to be able to share videos of the key speakers. The large audience was made up of MPs, Peers, clerks, academics and journalists and the event was chaired by Nat Le Roux, Director of The Constitution Society. Questions following the panel speeches were ‘off the record’ and so are not recorded. 

Richard Gordon QC is an eminent constitutional lawyer and Co-Author of the report ‘Select Committees and Coercive Powers – Clarity or Confusion?’ He makes the opening speech, introduces the report and gives a short overview of the key issues raised by it.

 

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The Constitution Society launches new report: Select Committees and Coercive Powers – Clarity or Confusion?

The Constitution Society is pleased to announce the publication of a landmark Report that it has commissioned on the coercive powers of select committees.

Co-authored by eminent constitutional lawyers, Richard Gordon QC and Amy Street, the Report offers a balanced and neutral investigation into what coercive powers select committees have and what the options might be for change.

In the light of the phone-hacking scandal and the high profile appearances before select committees of the Murdochs and others this is a timely and important intervention.

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6th June 2012

A summary of this week’s constitutional affairs: bringing together debates and questions in Parliament, Select Committee activity and online comment.

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APPG meets to discuss House of Lords reform

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Constitution works to improve the quality of debate on proposals for constitutional change and the way in which they are introduced. Previous topics explored range from the AV referendum to Scottish independence. The APPG is supported by The Constitution Society. 

The meeting on 16th May 2012 was a response to the House of Lords Reform Report and was attended by Members of both Houses. The event was chaired by Lord Norton of Louth with presentations from Dr Meg Russell (Deputy Director, Constitution Unit, UCL) and Professor John Curtice (Research Consultant to NatCen Social Research).

The APPG meetings are open only to members of both Houses and are unattributed so the following is a brief summary of the topics explored.

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The Constitution Society submits evidence on the quality of legislation

The Constitution Society is happy to announce that our evidence to the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee on the
subject of ‘Ensuring Standards in the Quality of Legislation’ has been submitted. 

The evidence highlights the large amounts of low quality legislation and calls for the introduction of new Parliamentary processes to mitigate against political pressures to pass ill-thought out laws. The Constitution Society welcomes the idea of a ‘Legislative Standards Committee’  to review draft legislation and check:

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Queen’s Speech – the constitutional highlights

This year’s Queen’s Speech is the second under the Coalition and the 57th of Her Majesty’s reign, the full text of which can be found here. While the emphasis of the government programme appears to be to ‘reduce the deficit and restore economic
stability’ this is a speech that outlines some potentially monumental constitutional changes. 

Succession

The speech notes that the  ‘…government will continue to work with the 15 other Commonwealth realms to take forward reform of the rules governing succession to the crown’. Building upon the Perth agreement between Commonwealth Realms in 2011, the speech alludes to the plans to end male preference primogeniture, allow those who marry Roman Catholics to remain in the line of succession and reduce the need to ask permission of monarch for a marriage to only the six closest in line to the throne. 

While relatively uncontroversial, such moves will require the amending of several key constitutional laws such as the 1689 Bill of Rights and the 1701 Act of Succession. 

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Mixed results for directly elected mayors

While the results for the 2012 Local Elections poured, in The Constitution Society was carefully watching the series of  referendums as to whether some of the UK’s major cities should have a directly elected mayor. A key initiative of the Coalition, the case for directly elected mayors had been strongly articulated by many in Government and Opposition, with the Prime Minister calling for a ‘Boris in every city’.

As it happened London did indeed return Boris Johnson as mayor, but of the eleven cities voting on whether to have a directly elected mayor or not only two opted for it over a council cabinet system. Birmingham, Bradford, Coventry, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle Upon-Tyne, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield all rejected a mayor with ‘No’ votes of 57.8%, 55.1%, 63.6%, 63.3%, 53.2%, 61.9%, 57.5%, 65% and 62.2% respectively.

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25th April 2012

A summary of this week’s constitutional affairs: bringing together debates and questions in Parliament, Select Committee activity and online comment.

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Codifying Local Government?

The Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee is consulting on the democratic and practical issues around the desirability of codifying (or formally writing down) in statute the principles and mechanics of the relationship between central and local government.

You can find the draft code above or by clicking on this link. The Committee itself has not taken a view on the document, but is making it available to the public for consultation to see if an appetite exists for any form of codification of the relationship between central and local government.

Consultation closes on 5th October 2012. The Constitution Society encourages all interested parties to send responses and thoughts on the code to the Select Committee at pcrc@parliament.uk