Guides

Democratic Unionist Party

The Democratic Unionist Party is now the leading unionist party, and the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly. The DUP was founded in 1971 by the Reverend Ian Paisley, a preacher at the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster. It is currently led by Jeffrey Donaldson.Read More
Secret courts go to the Commons for report stage.

Divisions

Division is the name given to a vote by MPs in the House of Commons. After the Division Bell starts ringing, MPs have eight minutes to arrive in one of the two lobbies that run alongside the Commons Chamber, before the entrances to these two division lobbies are locked.Read More
Tensions rising inside the Palace of Westminster

Draft Bill

A draft Bill is a preliminary form of a Bill. It may contain all or only parts of the Bill the Government wishes to introduce.Read More
SNP MPs walk out of the House of Commons during PMQs after Ian Blackford was kicked out of sittings on June 13, 2018. | Copyright: PA

Early Day Motions

Early Day Motions (universally known in Parliament as 'EDMs') are best thought of as petitions put forward by MPs on specific subjects. Other MPs are then invited to add their names in support.Read More
Election Debate

Election Debates

Election debates capture the controlled interactions of Britain's foremost politicians. They excite the political class, more than the public as a whole. In 2017, 'Britain's Got Talent' (BGT) out-competed the BBC's 2017 political debate, winning by 8.5 million viewers to 3.5 million.Read More

Election Turnout

Despite talk of a 'youthquake', UK voter turnout in 2019 was only 47% amongst those aged 18-24 compared to 74% amongst those aged over 65. Whilst in Bolivia, non voters can be denied from withdrawing their salary from the bank for three months.Read More
General Election

Elections and voting

An overview on the process governing elections to the House of Commons. Who can vote, who can stand for election, how much can candidates spend, and what are the rules around televised election broadcasts.Read More
The debate over Britain;s voting system rages on

Elections to the House of Commons

An overview of how Members of Parliament are elected, how elections and by-elections are called, and how the constituency system works.Read More

Employment Rights Act 1996

The 1996 Employment Rights Act is the dominant piece of legislation that lays out the rights of workers in the United Kingdom. Read More
Equality Act

Equality Act 2010

The 2010 Equality Act unites a range of anti-discrimination legislation and compounds it into a single, comprehensive law. It is the dominant piece of equality legislation in the United Kingdom. Read More
Civil service for hire

Executive Agencies

Executive Agencies now account for the majority of civil servants employed. Ministers set targets for Executive agencies, whose spending appears on the balance sheet of the sponsoring government department.Read More
Bercow announces his decision to the Commons this afternoon

First Reading

The introduction (also known as the presentation or bringing in) of a Bill into the House of Commons takes the form of its formal First Reading. There is no debate at this stage. Read More
Confidential: Civil servants have found many ways to avoid the FoI Act

Freedom of Information Act

Under the FOI Act, a public authority is required to make certain information available. The Act was intended to increase transparency and improve public trust. Rather ironically, the most famous Freedom of Information request, is the one that led to the 2009 MPs' expenses scandal.Read More
Downing Street aide Ruth Turner questioned over loans for honours row

Government Bills

Government Bills are Public Bills that are introduced by Government Ministers.Read More
Treasury rejects report suggesting it lost £8.4 billion in VAT fraud last year

Government Spending

Government spending is controlled by the Treasury, which must account for all expenditure by departments. The Comprehensive Spending Review sets a Departmental Expenditure Limit, which is the department's budget going forward.Read More
David Cameron meets with his new policy board

Green Papers

Green Papers are consultative papers on the options that the Government has determined are available to it in a certain policy area, sometimes including suggestions for legislation.Read More

Green Party

The Green Party is a left of centre political party with a specific focus on environmentalism. In the 2019 General Election, the Green Party polled 2.7% of the popular vote. However at 48,500, the Green Party's membership is a quarter of that of the Conservatives and half that of the Lib Dems.Read More
Health and Safety

Health and Safety at Work Act

The 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act introduced a legal responsibility for employers to protect the health and safety of all those who work or visit them. In 2018 there were 147 fatal injuries in the workplace, compared with 651 in 1974. Similarly, non-fatal accidents are now 21% of the 1974 figure.Read More

Hereditary Peers

The 1999 House of Lords Act unseated all but 92 of the Peers who had inherited their right to sit in the House of Lords by birth. Of the current 92 hereditary peers, there are no female hereditary peers.Read More