Lord Bell, public relations executive, comments on the Bureau of Investigative Journalism lobbying sting operation

Register of Members Interests

The Register of Members Interests includes details of the staff or family members that an MP employs; any significant shareholdings or property income that they possess; gifts and donations that they have received; and details of the outside employment or Directorships that they undertake.Read More
Virus Outbreak Britain Politics

Report Stage

This Report Stage of a Bill occurs normally at least two weeks after the end of the committee stage of a Bill.Read More
Vince Cable arrives for Cabinet in the days before the vote. Some observers believe the aftermath of the AV vote could break the coalition. Photo:


When a Prime Minister rearranges Ministers, dismissing some and bringing in new blood, this is known as a government reshuffle. During a major government reshuffle, it is not uncommon for between a third and a half of government posts to change hands.Read More
The Queen's Speech sets the agenda for the year ahead

Royal Assent

Upon receiving its Royal Assent, a Bill then becomes an Act. Since 1952, Queen Elizabeth II has given Royal Assent to more than 3,650 Acts of Parliament.Read More
Leaving the Lords: Strathclyde was Tory leader in the second chamber for 15 years.

Salisbury Convention

The Salisbury Convention, sometimes called the 'Salisbury doctrine', states that the Lords will not vote down a Bill that seeks to enact a manifesto pledge on which a government was elected. Some have questioned the Convention, following the 1999 Lords Reform which removed the majority of hereditary peers.Read More

Scottish Government – Composition

The Scottish Government is made up of the First Minister, Cabinet Secretary's, junior Scottish Ministers below Cabinet level. Here are the details of the current Scottish Executive.Read More

Scottish National Party

The Scottish National Party (SNP), is a pro Scottish independence party that sits on the left of the political spectrum. It is currently by far the largest party in Scotland and has been in government in the Scottish Parliament continuously since 2007.Read More
Scottish Parliament

Scottish Parliament – An Overview

The Scottish Parliament, based in the Holyrood area of the City of Edinburgh, first sat in 1999. An overview of the Parliament , covering its current membership, sitting patterns and times, voting mechanism, powers, and operations.Read More

Scottish Parliament – Committees

Scottish parliament committees are deliberative, coming up with proposals for new bills, taking evidence on current affairs and reporting on issues affecting Scotland. They resemble those from the European parliament more than those at Westminster.Read More

Scottish Parliament – Elections

The Scottish parliament is made up of 129 elected MSPs, elected by the additional member system, a form of proportional representation. Each voter has two votes - one for a constituency and one for a member from a regional list.Read More

Scottish Parliament – Legislation

The Scottish parliament may legislate on any issue that is not in a reserved area for Westminster. A bill can be introduced by the Scottish Executive, by a Scottish Parliament Committee, or as a private members bill by an individual MSP.Read More

Scottish Parliament – Powers

An overview of the current powers of the Scottish Parliament and Executive, how the Scottish Parliament's powers have increased in recent years, and the policy areas that are currently still reserved for Westminster.Read More
"For the most part, however, what the first minister served up as part of a long-trailed effort to "refresh" her administration"

Scottish Parliament – Question Time

The Scottish Executive is held accountable to the Scottish Parliament through Parliamentary Questions. These involve oral question sessions once a week, First Minister's Questions at noon on Thursday, and written answers for those questions not answered orally.Read More
The Commons can be a cruel place - when the whole chamber's laughing at you

Second Reading

A debate on the Second Reading of a Bill is a debate on its general principles. It is normally held at least two weeks after the introduction of the Bill at First Reading.Read More
Passed: Govt renews control orders

Secondary Legislation

Statutory instruments are known as Secondary legislation   They make changes to the law under powers that have been specified in a previous Act of Parliament.Read More
Select committee room in the Palace of Westminster

Select Committees

There are two types of House of Commons Select Committee - departmental and non-departmental. Select Committees invite their witnesses to attend. If that is not forthcoming, a Committee can potentially issue a summons for people to attend.Read More
Efforts to limit the size of the Lords seem totally dependant on the prime minister's discretion

Select Committees in the House of Lords

Lords Select Committees tend to be set up to consider issues that cut across government departments, which means that they rarely overlap with the departmental select committees of the House of Commons.Read More

Senedd Cymru – Elections

The Senedd is made up of 60 Assembly Members elected by the Additional Member System. Each voter has two votes - one for a constituency member and one for a member from a regional list.Read More

Senedd Cymru – Question Time

Oral questions for answer by Welsh Ministers in the Senedd, are tabled between five and ten working days before the time scheduled for questions to specified ministers. Written questions are tabled in the same manner as oral questions.Read More