Parliament lies in the heart of British politics. Yet calls for parliamentary reform – of both the House of Commons and House of Lords – have been frequent, and both chambers have often been accused of weakness. The Unit's research has investigated possible reforms to both chambers, as well as the effects of reforms that have previously taken place. In addition, much of our recent work has focused on parliament's impact on policy.
The Constitution Unit’s research in this area is led by Professor Meg Russell
Ongoing research on the strength, legitimacy, influence and membership of the House of Lords, including a record of all defeats in the Lords from 2005 to present. View the House of Lords Project Page or view our records of all government defeats in the House of Lords.
A major research project on the legislative process which considers the impact of parliament on legislation before and after coalition government.
Research into the House of Commons' use of financial privilege against amendments passed to legislation in the Lords.
Meg Russell and Phil Larkin's comparative project on the role and operation of Legislative Committees.
A collaboration between Constitution Unit and Select Committee staff which combines interviews with data collection and analysis of the impact of committee inquiries and recommendations. Our final report, released in 2011, concluded that Select Committees influence government by, among other things, 'generating fear'. Launch details and download
Meg Russell & Tom Semlyen
Archive of earlier work on Parliament
A list of all our parliament research projects is here.
Thursday, 05 November 2015
In the last of our series of posts adapted from presentations at the Unit’s 20th anniversary conference Tony Wright reflects on 20 years of parliamentary change and reform. He argues that parliament has become a good deal better over the past two decades, and points to Unit research as making a major contribution to bringing this […]
Thursday, 29 October 2015
In the aftermath of Monday’s Lords defeats on tax credit cuts there has been much talk of a ‘constitutional crisis’. In this post Meg Russell argues that whilst Monday’s vote was certainly unusual, the most significant change is the wider political context: that it is a Conservative government on the receiving end of repeated defeats in the Lords. Much like […]
Friday, 23 October 2015
Yesterday MPs voted by 312 to 270 to adopt changes to the House of Commons Standing Orders that will allow ‘English votes for English laws’ to take effect. In this post Michael Kenny and Daniel Gover highlight some of the issues that will need careful monitoring and reflect on the wider implications, arguing that the implementation of EVEL is very […]