Guides

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

Senedd Cymru – An Overview

Senedd Cymru is the name given to the Welsh Parliament.  It changed its name from the National Assembly of Wales in 2020. An overview of its powers, membership, session times, and operations.Read More

Senedd Cymru Committees

There are three types of committees in the Senedd: standing committees, subject committees and regional committees. Senedd Committees normally meet on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays when the Senedd is in session.Read More
Not a woman in sight: The government front bench sits across from Ed Miliband with an all male team

Shadow Cabinet

The Shadow Cabinet is made up of the senior members of the largest party not in government. Labour's Shadow Cabinet has been appointed by the party leader since 2011. Prior to then, it had been elected by the Parliamentary Party. Read the current list here.Read More
Rachel Reeves: One of three Labour MPs demanding red line on freedom of movement

Shadow Chancellor

In the last 50 years, only 4 out of the last 18 Shadow Chancellors (and excluding those ex Chancellors continuing immediately after an election) have actually gone on to become Chancellor of the Exchequer.Read More

Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin is a left-wing Irish Republican Party. In English, its name is translated as ‘(We) Ourselves’. It is the only political party that is active both in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland.Read More

Social Democrat and Labour party (SDLP)

The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) is a Northern Irish political party that was formed in the early 1970s at the height of the 'Troubles'. The SDLP sits on the left of the political spectrum, and is affiliated to the Labour party.Read More
Cummings and Johnson launch attacks on a range of enemies, including Europeans and 'activist lawyers'

Special Advisers

Special advisers are temporary civil servants, employed for the duration of an administration to provide a political dimension to the non-partisan work of the general civil service. The number of Special Advisors who later go on to become Members of Parliament is considerable. Read More
Another Westminster episode that ends badly - and leaves ordinary people disappointed

Standing Committees

Standing Committees are like miniature versions of the Commons itself. A new Standing Committee is set up for each Bill, although there are normally no more than eight at one time. Within the Standing Committee, a Bill is debated clause-by-clause.Read More
Big Ben: MPs were largely compliant on crucial Lords amendments

Starred Questions

Starred questions are questions for oral answer by Ministers in the House of Lords. They are called 'Starred Questions' because they appear next to a star on the order paper.Read More