Parliamentary Definitions

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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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 Register of Member’s Interests?

This video discusses the Register of Members Interests, its function, and how it benefits Parliament.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The register as a mandatory list of every member of Parliament, whereby their financial interests and assets are listed.
  • MP’s must also list the financial interests and assets of their immediate family.
  • If any change occurs to their financial interests or assets, the list must be updated within a month.
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 core principle of transparency in Parliament.
  • The mechanisms for ensuring transparency.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Baroness Stern
  • Keith Vaz MP

Image – Members Lobby (UK Parliament-Jessica Taylor)

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What are All Party Parliamentary Groups? 

This video discusses the nature and role of All Party Parliamentary groups, and their importance.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • All Party Parliamentary Groups are cross party and are comprised of members from both houses.
  • This demonstrates the strength of Parliament abroad, through unity and as a demonstration of the different aspects of Parliament all working together.
  • They also allow for specific, targeted, and expertise scrutiny of particular subjects.
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 cohesion of different aspects of Parliament.
  • The benefit of cross party scrutiny.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Andrew Rosindell MP
  • Lord Ahmed
  • Baroness Stern

Image – APPG on Pancreatic Cancer

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What are Statutory Instruments?

This video talks about the nature of statutory instruments, and the scrutiny that they often pass in Parliament.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • Laws often omit details and allow ministers to introduce the details as ‘orders’ called statutory instruments.
  • Some must be approved by Parliament in what is known as the Affirmative Resolution Procedure.
  • Others will take immediate effect.
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 system of checks within Parliament that allows for greater scrutiny and accountability.
  • The specific procedure for statutory instruments.
Credits

With thanks to:

  • Lord Norton

Image – Big Ben (UK Parliament-Jessica Taylor)

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What are ePetitions?

This video discusses the advent of ePetitions, and their new and deeply useful role in the UK political system.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • They are a modern way for the public to express their views.
  • Prior to ePetitions, MP’s would have to collect signatures on paper petitions.
  • They allow for greater public participation in government.
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 combination and marriage between government and the people in the UK political system.
  • The evolution of government in the age of revolutionary technological advancement.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Keith Vaz MP
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What are Free votes?

This video summarizes what free votes are, and their role in the wider Parliamentary system.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • Free votes are votes where no whipping is enforced.
  • Thus MP’s are left to decide for themselves on personal conviction alone.
  • Free Votes usually are on matters of morality or ethics.
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 voting and wider procedure of Parliament.
  • The importance of separation between party manifesto and matters of deep moral importance.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP
  • Baroness Boothroyd

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

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What are Select Committees?

This video discusses the nature and role of select committees, and their importance in the British political system.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • Select Committees are mirrors of the government, each scrutinising a specified ministry.
  • They have the power to question Ministers, experts, etc.
  • Select Committees then publish a report, and in so doing send recommendations to the Government.
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 checks and balances system in the UK.
  • The role of scrutiny in the name of accountability that Select Committees afford.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Keith Vaz MP
  • Lord Tyler
  • Natascha Engel MP
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What pre legislative scrutiny is there?

This video summarises the scrutiny brought upon legislation before is it introduced as a formal bill.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • Draft Bills – submitted a year prior to the bill being formally discussed.
  • This allows Parliament to discuss the bill is general.
  • Draft Bills are often sent to a Joint Committee for detailed scrutiny.
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 detail of scrutiny in place in the UK political system to ensure checks and greater accountability.
  • The specific procedure for such scrutiny prior to a bill formally coming before Parliament.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Paul Evans
  • Baroness Smith

Image – Black Rod in Commons (UK Parliament-Roger Harris)

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What is post legislative scrutiny?

This video summarizes the way in which Parliament scrutinises a bill that has already become law, to ensure its continued effectiveness of use.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • Parliament debates and scrutinises policy and legislation that have become law.
  • This is done 3-5 year after becoming a law, and is presented as a memorandum by the concerning government ministry.
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 systems of checks that Parliament emplaces to ensure accountability.
  • The specific procedure and time frame for implementing said scrutiny.
Credits

With thanks to

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

Image – Library (UK Parliament-Jessica Taylor)

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What are the different types of legislation?

This video discusses the different types of legislation, both in origin and in composition.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • Most policy comes from the government’s manifesto.
  • Backbenchers also contribute policy recommendations for legislation.
  • The difference between public/private 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 process of legislation in Parliament.
  • The diverse ways and types of legislation that is available to Parliament to consider.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Natascha Engel MP
  • Lord Norton

Image – Corbyn Budget 2016 (UK Parliament-Jessica Taylor)

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