58

Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) is in theory no different from the usual departmental ministers' questions, with the key difference being that instead of the questions being known ahead of time, a "loophole" is used to allow Members of Parliament (MPs) to ask unscreened questions. You may have noticed that at the beginning of the PMQs an MP will stand up ...


21

The rule was introduced in 2001, following the 2000 election of Michael Martin. That election took place "by means of a conventional parliamentary motion with recorded votes on an amendment for each candidate". Due to the large number of candidates, the repeated ballots took 6 hours. The process was also politically charged, with party whips lobbying MPs to ...


19

The part of the play which I believe you're referring to can be read here, and refers to the actions of Walter Harrison, then a government whip in a committee stage vote, not a vote in the main Commons chamber. Serjeant Please. Mr Speaker, there's been a difference of opinion regarding the votes on two bills at committee stage. Amendments to the ...


13

First past the post is not meant to be proportional. You didn’t say which particular election you were talking about, but taking the 2017 election as an example, the SNP fielded candidates in all 59 seats in Scotland, winning in 35 of them, and achieving 37% of the votes cast in the seats which they contested. This is a comparable percentage-vote to seat ...


13

As with all constitutional questions in the UK, the qualifier "Parliament can change the below at will" must be borne in mind. is there any process to expel an MP from their post except for calling a General Election, assuming no wrongdoing by said MP? No. To my knowledge, the only mechanisms through which an MP can be pre-emptively removed from ...


12

With the possible exception of the government front bench, there are no seating arrangements in the Commons, seating is already on a first come first served basis, with members reserving a seat for the day through being present at prayers at the beginning of the day and getting a prayer card with their name on it placed into a slot on the bench. That the ...


12

The tradition of alternating parties is often mentioned, but is not really true. As Wikipedia's list of Speakers shows, it was broken most recently in 2000 when Michael Martin followed Betty Boothroyd (both Labour), and before that in 1959, 1965 and 1971, when there were 4 Conservative Speakers in a row! Even before then, this tradition is broken more than ...


9

To give some background as to the how and why of this question, the answer lies as always in Erskine May, the "most authoritative and influential work on parliamentary procedure and constitutional conventions affecting Parliament". Paragraph 20.62 states: On a division being called, the Speaker or the committee Chair, as the case may be, gives the ...


9

Yes - in Ashton-under-Lyne in 1886: In the 1886 general election, there was a tie in Ashton-under-Lyne, with the Liberal and Conservative candidates each receiving 3,049 votes. The (Acting) Returning Officer gave his casting vote to the Conservative, John Addison. That is no longer the practise. The article continues: The modern convention is that, if ...


8

On viewing the recording of the first session of the hybrid proceedings today, I see that the Speaker addressed this issue at the outset: Mr. Speaker Yesterday, the House agreed to a motion to allow Members to participate virtually in proceedings of the House, for the first time in 700 years of history of the House of Commons. I would like to ...


7

I suspect, but have not yet found a smoking gun, that the answer lies in the previous election in 2000: This was the last Speaker election to be conducted by means of a conventional parliamentary motion with recorded votes on an amendment for each candidate. With an unusually large number of candidates, a significant number of MPs spoke in favour of ...


7

It is unlikely that any Great Britain parties will get particularly far in Northern Ireland. Most Sinn Féin voters believe that Northern Ireland should break away from the United Kingdom and join the Republic of Ireland. It is difficult to see many Sinn Féin voters voting for a party that believes Northern Ireland should remain in the UK, which all of the ...


7

Generally, yes, since the partial implementation of the Wright Committee's recommendations in 2010 under the coalition government, chairs of most select committees are elected by the whole House. A list of these committees can be found in Standing Order 122B. However, several select committees, including the Intelligence and Security Committee, have a chair ...


7

The Chancellor is allowed to do this as a matter of tradition, as the OP's link says. There's also a practical reason: the Budget speech is often long and complex, and a boost to their morale during the process is reasonable. Many of the details of operation of the UK parliament are traditions, rather than written rules. The tradition goes back to at least ...


6

There is still some functional purpose where the Speaker can request certain things of the Serjeant at Arms. Last year, there were many examples of a division taking a longer time than usual, and the Speaker would ask the Serjeant to investigate the reasons for this and to report back. More seriously, the Serjeant can be called upon to enforce certain ...


6

Wikipedia's page on Prime Minister's Question Time states that: Since 1992, a convention has been in place that if either one of the Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition is absent, the other doesn't attend either, and thus both are stood in for. Before 1992 the deputies would often question the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition question ...


5

At the point in which Caroline Lucas won the seat in 2010, Brighton Pavilion had already developed into a 4 way marginal between Labour, the Conservatives, the Green and the Liberal Democrats. In the previous election in 2005 the respective vote shares were 31.5%, 23.9%, 21.9%, and 16.5% (note boundary changes make some of these figures less usefult than is ...


4

If the Speaker is formerly a member of the party in government, as well as all the Deputy Speakers, won't that cause issues for the party in power? As they lose a few crucial votes which would have come from those members. The Speaker and the Deputy Speakers are drawn from opposing sides of the house such that the net effect of lost votes is 0 (I.E. both ...


4

If the Remain Alliance campaigns against Sinn Féin they risk taking enough votes away from Sinn Féin to let a (pro-Brexit) DUP candidate win the seat. It's much better to have an abstentionist Sinn Féin MP than an actively pro-Brexit DUP MP.


4

The first past the post voting system favours large nationwide parties (in the UK the large nationwide parties in terms of members, funding and presence in the field are the Conservatives and Labour, to a lesser extent the LibDems) and small parties with strong support in clearly defined regions. The latter group contains almost all of the small or small-ish ...


3

The deputising convention was broken again in September 2020, when Sir Keir was unable to attend PMQs due to a member of his household exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. Angela Rayner, Labour's deputy leader stood in for him at the session, facing Boris Johnson at the despatch box in another breach of this convention. As reported by The National: It is ...


3

No, the two clauses are not identical. The key thing to notice is that the Parliament Act 1911 excludes the House of Lords from further legislation, but the House of Lords itself was included in the legislation that lead to the Parliament Act 1911. Therefore the first clause says that this delegated legislation is not valid on its own because it excluded ...


2

According to Parliament UK the Lords can delay a bill for a year, not a number of times of being bounced between the houses. Parliament Act 1949 The Parliament Act 1949 further reduced the Lords' delaying powers to one year. This is probably related to the rules that prevent the House of Commons from re-introducing a unchanged bill in the same session ...


2

Many recurring taunts and putdowns in British politics stem either from the rules regarding the use "unparliamentary language", or as a result of libel laws. This is due to the fact that once a phrase is considered "acceptable", either due to precedent in the Chamber, or due to a decision of the courts, its use is considered fair game, and it will tend to be ...


2

One example that springs to mind (mainly for its strangeness) is that Willie Rushton (of Private Eye) ran as a protest candidate against Alec Douglas-Home, the PM, in the 1963 Kinross and Western Perthshire by-election - he recommended his supporters vote Liberal. I am fairly sure there are a number of similar examples, though most are probably minor parties ...


2

Candidates have until 4pm on Thursday 14 November to file their nomination papers with their local councils. Assuming that no objections are made to any nominations, councils will be expected to publish a Statement of Persons Nominated for each constituency at 5pm on this same day. Source: Electoral Commission


2

Your premise is incorrect. The 'Remain Alliance' is Liberal Democrats, Greens, and Plaid Cymru. Northern Ireland operates in a different political environment to Great Britain, and even has its own electoral system. The parties which exists in Great Britain do not operate in Northern Ireland, but they do have allies who behave as proxies with specific ...


2

Ministers (including the Secretary of State) from each department answer questions from whichever house they belong to. Normally, Secretaries of State are MPs, with some ministers from each department who are MPs and other who are peers, so that questions relating to that department can be answered in either house. If the SoS is a peer, then the same ...


1

Because the UK first past the post system rewards local concentration of support not widely spread but diffuse support The core answer to the actual question is built-in to the design of the UK's electoral system. It deliberately ignores any consideration of proportionality at the aggregate level (or, perhaps, the complaints of unfairness have never gained ...


1

There are three things that Johnson could have been referring to when he alluded to Bercow "stretching time". Firstly, and most likely, he was referring to Bercow's opposition to Johnson's attempt to suspend parliament, which went on to be challenged in the Supreme Court and be declared unlawful. Before beginning the proceedings to suspend ...


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