Central government

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  • This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on central government. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

    Commons Briefing Papers

    14.11.2016Brexit and the EU Court
    The High Court has appealed to the Supreme Court for a decision on whether the Government can start the Brexit process by triggering Article 50 TEU using Prerogative powers. Some press reports said the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) would have the last word on this. But can the CJEU rule on matters of UK constitutional Law? Many experts believe that the question central to the case, but not ruled on by the High Court, was whether Article 50 can be withdrawn. If it can be revoked, then the argument that Article 50 notice leads inevitably to a loss of rights under the European Communities Act 1972 might not hold. This paper looks at the questions of revocability and referral to the EU Court.
    07.10.2016Limitations on the number of Ministers
    This House of Commons Library Briefing Paper reports the legal restrictions on the number of ministers receiving a salary and the number of ministers sitting in the House of Commons. It includes statistics on the number of ministers in each Chamber following each general election since 1979 and at the July 2016 change of Government. Lastly, it sets out calls from the Public Administration Select Committee and others for the number of ministers and the payroll vote to be reduced.
    28.09.2016Diversity in the UK's democratic institutions
    This Commons Library Briefing Paper examines diversity in the UK's democratic institutions: the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. It shows there are differences between these institutions and also within each institution.
    26.09.2016Ministers in the 2015 Conservative Governments
    Ministerial office holders in the 2015 Conservative Governments
    25.08.2016Parliamentary Private Secretaries
    This House of Commons Library Briefing Paper sets out the role of Parliamentary Private Secretaries, including their functions and the limitations placed on them.
    11.08.2016The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and background
    This briefing concerns the establishment of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, a statutory Inquiry which formally opened in July 2015. This Inquiry replaced the previous, non-statutory, Inquiry set up in July 2014 which saw both of its Chairs resign; on 4 August 2016, Justice Goddard resigned as the Chair of the statutory inquiry and on 11 August it was announced that Professor Alexis Jay would be the new Chair.
    04.08.2016Honours: History and reviews
    Honours awarded today are mostly part of the Order of the British Empire, which was established in 1917. Almost from the beginning there was controversy about who should receive honours and suggestions of impropriety, particularly in the award of honours for political service. This paper summarises the various reviews of the system and the changes made.
    03.08.2016Constituency Casework: Honours
    This Commons Library briefing covers the questions frequently asked of MPs about the way someone receives an honour and how an honour might be removed.
    28.07.2016Brexit: some legal and constitutional issues and alternatives to EU membership
    This paper considers how the UK will leave the EU, some legal and constitutional issues, and possible alternatives to EU membership. What is the process for leaving the EU? Will the UK join a different grouping of states or go it alone? Will EU or UK citizens or businesses have any vested rights?
    25.07.2016A Public Service Ombudsman for the UK
    This House of Commons Library Briefing Paper looks at the Government's proposal to bring forward a draft bill for a public service ombudsman which will provide a unified ombudsman service for UK reserved matters and public services delivered solely in England. It also looks at the existing ombudsman landscape for public services across the UK.

    Lords Library Notes

    04.03.2016Ministerial Collective Responsibility and Agreement to Differ: Recent Developments
    This Lords Library briefing provides information on ministerial collective responsibility in the light of the 2016 EU referendum.
    17.01.2011Debate on 20 January: Constitutional and Parliamentary Effect of Coalition Government
    This Library Note aims to provide background reading for the debate on 20 January 2011: "To call attention to the constitutional and parliamentary effect of Coalition Government".


    04.05.2016Barriers to Healthy Food
    This briefing reviews current diets and barriers to healthy food including price, marketing, skills and location. It then outlines current initiatives to improve diets.
    24.09.2015Trends in Crime and Criminal Justice
    This POSTnote describes crime patterns, and highlights issues with crime measurement and data. It also identifies key developments in the criminal justice system.
    12.06.2015Trends in Political Participation
    Over the last fifty years in the UK, some aspects of participation in formal politics have decreased, such as political party membership. But new forms of participation, such as online activism, have emerged, which may become increasingly important, especially for younger people. This POSTnote discusses trends in political participation, with a focus on new forms, drivers of these trends and how UK democratic institutions are responding.

    Select Committee Reports

    15.02.2012Role and functions of departmental Chief Scientific Advisers.
    Science and Technology Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
    13.09.2011The performance of the Ministry of Defence 2009-10.
    Government response. Defence Select Committee; Ministry of Defence report [Commons]
    19.07.2011Ministry of Defence main estimates 2011-12.
    Defence Select Committee report [Commons]
    18.07.2011Home Office - work of the Permanent Secretary.
    Home Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]
    14.07.2011Role of the FCO in UK government.
    Government response. Foreign and Commonwealth Office report [Commons]

    Early Day Motions

    That this House welcomes the publication of the renewed Compact, between the Government and the voluntary sector; notes that it outlines the principles of good partnership working between ...
    That this House recognises the importance of work experience placements for young people, but believes that those undertaking work experience should not be offered jobs which would ...
    That this House notes the continuing cost to the public purse of hon. Members tabling substantial numbers of written questions; understands the principle behind limiting the number ...
    That this House notes that the Departmentfor Work and Pensions spent 115 million on management conferences and external meetings between 2000 and 2010; further notes that most departments ...
    That this House recognises that there needs to be an urgent and fundamental reform of the relationship between central and local government; commends the work of the Local Government ...


    • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
    • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
    • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
    • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
    • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses