The Constitution Unit


Report launch: The House of Commons’ control of its time

Taking back control front cover

The House of Commons is the senior chamber in the UK's sovereign parliament, to which the executive is accountable. Yet MPs have surprisingly little control over what the Commons can discuss, and when. This has caused significant controversies in recent years, from the 'seizing of the agenda' by MPs over Brexit, to their frustrations about being locked out of decision-making on COVID-19 and on decisions about virtual participation during the pandemic. This new Constitution Unit report, by Professor Meg Russell and Dr Daniel Gover, addresses why MPs lack control of their own institution, what problems this causes and, crucially, what should be done. The report picks up where the 2009-10 'Wright Committee' left off, by suggesting that it is time for the House of Commons to 'Take Back Control' of its own proceedings.

The launch event for the report will take place at 1.30 – 2.45 on Tuesday 19 January, by Zoom. Speakers are as follows:

  • Karen Bradley MP: Chair of the House of Commons Procedure Committee.
  • Valerie Vaz MP: Shadow Leader of the House of Commons.
  • Sir David Natzler: former Clerk of the House of Commons, also formerly Clerk of the Wright Committee.
  • Professor Meg Russell FBA (co-author): Director of the Constitution Unit, Senior Fellow at the UK in a Changing Europe, and former specialist adviser to the Wright Committee.
  • Dr Daniel Gover (co-author): Lecturer in British Politics at Queen Mary University of London.

Chair: Jill Rutter, senior research fellow of UK in a Changing Europe.

Note that this is an invitation-only event, so please do not forward this link to others.

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Photo credit: UK Parliament | Jessica Taylor