Parliamentary Traditions

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 pressures for reform are there?

This video discusses the pressures for change and reform, where they come from, and how Parliament reacts and has historically reacted.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The historical pressures for reform such as women’s suffrage.
  • The contemporary pressures such as representation that mirrors the diversity of the UK.
  • The origins of pressures for reform, both public and governmental.
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:

  • Historical reforms.
  • The benefit of reform and pressure for it.
  • How Parliament interacts with such pressure.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP
  • Baroness Boothroyd

Image – Prince’s Chamber Heralds (UK Parliament-Catherine Bebbington)

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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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How do the two chambers complement each other? 

This video summarises the relationship between the lower and upper houses of Parliament, and the way they fulfill complimentary duties.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The expertise thatthe House of Lords brings, and its untimed scrutiny.
  • The duties of the House of Commons – such as the duty to legislate on behalf of those MPs represent.
  • The way in which these duties compliment each other.
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 undemocratic, yet essential nature of the House of Lords.
  • The fundamental role to Parliament that the House of Commons plays.
  • The way in which these two houses combine to legislate, and make said legislation accountable.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP
  • Baroness Boothroyd
  • Baroness D’Souza, Lords Speaker 2011-2016
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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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What is the role of the monarch?

This video gives a brief summary of the role the monarch plays within the constitution and government of the United Kingdom.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The fact that the Monarch reigns, yet does not rule.
  • The contrast between the the Monarchy and other branches of governance.
  • The constitutional duties of the Monarch.
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.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Baroness Boothroyd

Image – Queens Speech (UK Parliament-Roger Harris)

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How does Parliament’s history inform how it works? 

This video discusses the history of Parliament and of the wider UK political system of government, and shows how this history has molded it into its contemporary form.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The evolution of governance from monarch to elected representatives.
  • The lack of formal constitution that this evolution has brought.
  • The symbolism of Monarchy, and the traditions of both Houses, which still play crucial roles in UK governance.
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:

  • Parliament’s history and evolution.
  • The imminency of the House of Commons in contemporary British government.
  • The importance of history, customs, traditions, and symbolism in government.
Credits

With thanks to

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What are the underlying principles of the UK’s parliamentary system? 

A summary of the principles of Parliament. This documentary covers the basics of our parliamentary principle and the functions that drive the House of Commons.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The principles of the parliamentary system.
  • The specific democratic nature of the House of Commons.
  • The relationship between its democratic nature and its function as the heart 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:

  • Parliament’s democratic nature.
  • The role of the House of Commons.
  • The underlying principles which guide the House of Commons.
  • The functions of the House of Commons.
Credits

With thanks to

  • John Bercow MP, House of Commons Speaker 2009-present.
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A Brief History of UK Parliament

Our short history of the mother of parliaments. This documentary covers the basics of our parliamentary history, its past conflicts, and the forces that have molded into its current form.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The formation of Parliament.
  • The at times dichotomous relationship between the Crown and Parliament.
  • The past conflicts that have shaped the modern Parliament and its foundational legislation, e.g. the Bill of Rights.
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:

  • Parliament’s historical role.
  • The historical clashes between Parliament and Crown.
  • The Resolution of these conflicts.
  • The birth of our modern Parliament from these conflicts and resolutions.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Lord Norton

Image (UK Parliament-Jessica Taylor)

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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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