Parliamentary Definitions

What is the Parliamentary lobby?

This video discusses the Parliamentary lobby which is comprised of journalists and reporters who are granted access to the Palace of Westminster.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The evolution of the lobby and how its dimensions and unspoken rules have changed over time.
  • The access to MPs for members of the press that foster accountable 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 purpose of the lobby.
  • The change in rules and standards for the lobby since the move to Portcullis House as the primary location to meet with MPs.
  • The lack of formality in the modern lobby fostered by a greater ease of access.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Tessa Jowell MP

Image – Members Lobby (UK Parliament-Catherine Bebbington)

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What is the role of the Judiciary?

This video discusses the role of the judiciary within the British system of government, whereby the Judiciary both enforces and explicates law passed by Parliament where either is needed.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The duties of the Judiciary which include but are not limited to: interpreting, clarifying, and upholding the laws and legislations passed by Parliament.
  • The relationship thereby between the Judicial and Legislative branches of 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 function of the Judiciary.
  • The role the Judiciary plays in ‘checking’ the Legislative branch.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Baroness Scotland

Image – Supreme Court (DAVID ILIFF. License- CC-BY-SA 3.0)

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What is the function of Civil Servants?

This video outlines the usefulness of civil servants not only in their own right and their duties, but in their direct relationship with government.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The duty of advising ministers that makes up the core of civil servant work.
  • The innate necessity for civil servants to remain impartial in order to continue their work from government to 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 advisory role of civil servants for both parliamentary and party-line (manifesto) legislation.
  • The duty to maintain the confidence of both government and opposition by the civil service.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Tessa Jowell MP
  • Baroness Symons
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What is the role of political parties?

This video discusses the importance of political parties within British politics, namely as a driving force for legislation through a framework of principles specific to each party.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The different parties within the UK.
  • The way in which political parties and the political system interact.
  • The necessity for political parties as a way to direct philosophical motivations into 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 importance of political parties.
  • The function that political parties serve for our political system.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Adam Alfriyie MP
  • Madeline Moon MP

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

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What separation of powers is there?

This short video covers the separation of power within the British governmental system, whereby checks and balances ensure accountable and responsible governance.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The separations of power between the Crown represented by the government de jure, the legislative in the form of Parliament, and the judiciary.
  • The restrictions and necessities born from this separation.
  • The contrast to the American system of checks and balances, whereby the the government cannot be part of the legislature.
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 manner in which the powers of government are separated.
  • The individual entities which comprise this system of checks and balances.
  • The key differences between the British and American systems of separation of power.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Baroness Scotland
  • Lord Cormack
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What is the State opening of Parliament?

This video is a summary of the Opening of Parliament, its significance in the modern political era, and the principles behind it.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The reason for the State opening of Parliament.
  • The crucial aspects of the State opening.
  • The role of the Monarch in relation to the State opening.
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 relevance of Monarchy in government.
  • The duties and contrast of Monarchy in the British governmental system.
  • The relevance and purpose of the State opening of Parliament.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Baroness Boothroyd

Image – Queen’s Speech (UK Parliament-Roger Harris)

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Parliament in 30 Minutes

Watch Parliament in 30 Minutes – our short insight into the workings of the mother of parliaments. This documentary covers the basics of our parliamentary system; how our institutions work, how laws are made, and what our representatives do.

Video Information

This the introductory video in the Parliament Revealed project. This video covers:

  • The roles of parliamentary institutions – examining how the various institutions of government in the UK function and interact.
  • How laws are made and scrutinised – examining the processes of law-making, the typical stages that a bill will pass through and the various forms of scrutiny that laws undergo before, during and after their passage through Parliament.
  • The role of representatives – examining the work of Parliament, the different responsibilities and powers of MPs and Peers and the staff, resources and mechanisms available to support them.
  • How Parliament works day to day – examining how business is conducted, how timetables are determined, the rules of debate, the function of specific instruments such as Early Day Motions and Adjournment Debates, and the roles of specific actors such as the Speaker and Clerks.
Information for Teachers

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

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

  • What is the role of parliament?
  • What are laws, and how are they made?
  • What are representatives?
  • How does parliament work?

These key questions are answered by parliamentarians past and present.

Credits

With thanks to (by order of appearance):

  • Baron Lisvane (Robert Rogers), Clerk of the House of Commons 2011-2014
  • Lord Norton
  • Baroness Boothroyd
  • Keith Vaz MP
  • Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP
  • John Mann MP
  • Natascha Engel MP
  • Andrew Rosindell MP
  • Baroness D’Souza, Lords Speaker 2011-2016
  • Baroness Scotland
  • Lord Tyler
  • Baroness Smith
  • Lord Cormack
  • Baroness Stowell
  • Baroness Stern
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