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The Politics of Parliamentary Procedure

This project explores the process of procedural change in the UK House of Commons, to understand the extent, causes, and consequences of government influence.

House of Commons

Conventional wisdom suggests that parliamentary procedure in the UK – and in many other parliaments – is largely shaped by the wishes of the government. Given the important effects of parliamentary procedure, such government dominance could have profound consequences for the conduct and outcomes of democratic politics. This project therefore explores the role of different actors in choosing and changing procedures in the UK House of Commons. It particularly focuses on understanding the extent, causes, and consequences of government influence.

The project is analysing changes to the Commons’ rules over more than a century, with a particular focus on the last 25 years. This allows us to trace the process by which reform proposals are drafted, considered, and accepted or rejected, and to analyse the role of different actors in that process. We are also reviewing other parliaments’ approaches to changing their internal procedures, to understand what lessons Westminster might learn.

Project team and funding

This project is led by Dr Tom Fleming. The project's Research Assistant is Hannah Kelly. 

Project dates: July 2023 – June 2026

Funder: Economic and Social Research Council

Contact: tom.fleming@ucl.ac.uk