House of Commons

What is the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards?

This video summarizes the role, duties and necessity of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The independence of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.
  • The duty to create a report on any complaint against and MP.
  • The duty to then pass said report to the Committee on Standards and Privileges for consideration and decision.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The safeguards for support within the House of Commons.
  • The independence of this support from the Government.
  • The specific role of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards in this support, and his/her roles and duties.
Credits

With thanks to:

  • Baron Lisvane (Robert Rogers)

Image – Throne Canopy House of Lords (UK Parliament)

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How do parties operate in Parliament?

This video discusses the role of parties within Parliament, and the effect they have on its discourse and operation.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The party system as a ‘many party’ and eclectic one.
  • The translation of party manifesto into legislation.
  • The role of the whips in ensuring maximum voting on party legislation.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The effect that parties have on Parliament.
  • The mechanisms for enforcing this effect.
Credits

With thanks to:

  • Keith Vaz MP
  • Lord Cormack

Image – Cromwell Green (UK Parliament-Jessica Taylor)

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What are adjournment debates?

This video summarises the role and the mechanism of adjournment debates, and the benefit they bring to Parliament.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • Adjournment debates as mechanisms that allow the House to debate informally.
  • Adjournment debates do not need to come to a resolution.
  • Adjournment debates are considered the ‘property’ of backbenchers.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The origin and role of adjournment debates.
  • The opportunity that adjournment debates offer.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Paul Evans, Principle Clerk of the Table Office in the House of Commons 2011-2014

Image – Father of the House (UK Parliament-Catherine Bebbington)

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What are early day motions?

This video discusses the nature and role of early day motions, their requirements, and their direction of principle.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The fact that Early Day Motions can be submitted any day Parliament is in session.
  • The fact that Early Day Motions only need one MP to be signatory, but there is also no maximum amount that can become signatories.
  • The fact that Early Day Motions can be either political or non-political.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The origin and composition of Early Day Motions.
  • The role and principles of Early Day Motions.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Andrew Rosindell MP

Image – Big Ben (UK Parliament-Jessica Taylor)

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What is Prime Minister’s Questions?

This video delves into the purpose and necessity of Prime Minister’s Questions, and the effect it has.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The PM can be asked about anything, both national and international.
  • The PMQ’s are the centre of Parliamentary debate and activity.
  • PMQ’s are part of the rich theatre of Parliament.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The composition of PMQ’s.
  • The purpose PMQ’s have and their centrality within Parliament.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Keith Vaz MP

Image – Downing Street (UK Parliament-Jessica Taylor)

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How do Clerks support the work of Parliamentarians?

This video looks at the ways in which clerks support the work of MP’s and their wider roles in Parliament.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The clerks give immediate advice and often to the more senior MP’s.
  • Every Committee has a clerk.
  • The clerks are experts in many areas, allowing committee and Parliamentary work to run efficiently.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The roles and duties of clerks.
  • The manner in which these duties support Parliament.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Baron Lisvane (Robert Rogers)

Image – The Oath and Clerks (UK Parliament-Catherine Bebbington)

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What is the role of the Speakers?

This video is a summary of the duties and roles of the Speakers for the House of Commons and Lords.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The Speaker of the House of Commons keeps order and gives procedural advice..
  • The Speaker of the House of Commons can cast a deciding vote if there is a legislative tie.
  • Both Speakers are elected and are first and foremost servants of Parliament..
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The roles and duties of the Speakers of both Houses.
  • The fundamental servitude to Parliament in both of these roles.
Credits

With thanks to

  • John Bercow MP
  • Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP
  • Baroness Boothroyd
  • Baroness Smith
  • Baroness D’Souza

Image – House of Commons Speaker (UK Parliament-Catherine Bebbington)

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What is the range of business discussed in Parliament?

This video discusses the combinations of party political and independent agendas put forward in Parliament.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The government’s agenda or manifesto.
  • The way in which this manifesto is translated into legislation.
  • The fact that any member can bring forward a bill of their choosing, showing a balance of range in discussion within Parliament.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The part an agenda plays in discussion for Parliament.
  • The ability of MP’s to contribute to this discussion independent from their party manifesto.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Baroness Scotland

Image – The Front Bench (UK Parliament-Catherine Bebbington)

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How are Parliamentarians supported by officials of the House?

This video is a summary of the ways and mechanisms through which parliamentarians are aided by the House of Commons Officials.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The clerks in the House of Commons give advice to MP’s while in session.
  • These clerks aren’t civil servants, but are instead servants of Parliament.
  • This independence from ministerial control is a central aspect to their roles and duties.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The safeguards for support within the House of Commons.
  • The independence of this support from the Government.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Baron Lisvane (Robert Rogers)

Image – Lord Speaker Address (UK Parliament-Roger Harris)

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How is the business of the House of Commons determined?

This video discusses the direction of business and discourse in the House of Commons, and the forces that shape them.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The importance of whips for determining business, timing, and enforcing it within the parties.
  • The Speaker, who can also direct the business by making judgements on requests or motions from MP’s.
  • The Backbenchers who can influence business by filling vacant time.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The business of the House of Commons and the ways that it is directed.
  • The formal ways that business is determined, as well as the procedural ways that can be used to steer business.
Credits

With thanks to

  • John Bercow MP, House of Commons Speaker

Image – Prince’s Chamber (UK Parliament-Jessica Taylor)

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What is the timetable for a typical day in Parliament?

This video discusses the usual day to day activities of Parliament, and the efficiency of timetabling every aspect of business that makes the UK Parliament as efficient as possible.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The daily timetable which begins with prayers, MP’s questions, etc.
  • The mid-week timing of PMQ’s.
  • The various procedures for introducing and voting for bill.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The weekly activity of Parliament.
  • The meticulous listing of every tabled event.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Andrew Rosindell MP

Image – Prayers Cards (UK Parliament-Roger Harris)

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How does Parliament work for UK citizens?

This video discusses the role of Parliament and Parliamentarians, as servants of the people.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • Parliament gives political voice to the people.
  • The House of Commons gives the people directly elected officials.
  • The House of Lords provides the people with expert scrutiny of laws to ensure the highest level of accountability.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The roles of both Houses in connection with the people
  • The combined role of both Houses as Parliament.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Baroness Scotland

Image – Big Ben (UK Parliament)

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How representative is Parliament of the people of the UK?

This video discusses the representative nature of Parliament in connections with the electorate, or the British People.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The contemporary increase in diversity within Parliament.
  • The increasingly representative nature of Parliament for all demographics of British Society.
  • The ideal of Parliaments composition, which is to be a mirror of Britain.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The evolution of Parliaments composition.
  • The ideal composition for Parliament.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Keith Vaz MP

Image – Henry Moore Outside Parliament (UK Parliament)

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What influence do MP’s and Peers have?

This video discusses the influence of individual Peers and MP’s within their party, House, and Parliament.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The influence of an individual MP or Peer largely depends on their personal qualities.
  • However, often the greater the majority a party has, the less influence individual Parliamentarians of that party can clout.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The influence of Peers and MP’s.
  • The effect of the party system on Parliamentarians.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP
  • Lord Cormack

Image – Royal Gallery (House of Lords-Roger Harris)

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What resources are made available to MPs?

This video is a summary of the material resources available to MP’s in order to serve their role.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • MP’s are given an office and office supplies.
  • MP’s are given research facilities.
  • MP’s are given funding to finance staff.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The material support given to MP’s in their execution of office.
Credits

With thanks to

  • John Mann MP

Image – Speaker Address (UK Parliament-Roger Harris)

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