Written by expert insiders, How Parliament Works is a straightforward and readable analysis of one of the country's most complex – and often misunderstood – institutions.
Covering every aspect of the work, membership and structures of both Houses, this key text provides a unique insight into the work and daily life of Parliament. It explains not only what happens but also why, and analyses the institution’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as opportunities for Parliament to be more effective.
The seventh edition has been substantially revised to take account of recent changes in both Houses and to cover all the key issues affecting Parliament and politics, such as:
• the Fixed Term Parliaments Act;
• the implications of coalition politics;
• recent developments in Lords reform;
• the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority's role in pay and expenses;
• advances in scrutiny techniques;
• changes in parliamentary cycles of business and finance;
• member conduct and interests;
• reform and modernisation.
It also covers the latest developments in the legislative process, party discipline and rebellion, the procedure of both Houses, select committee work, and the relationship between Parliament and the European Union. All statistics and examples have been fully updated.
How Parliament Works is essential reading for anyone who has anything to do with the Westminster Parliament: journalists, civil servants, lawyers, lobbyists, business and trade associations, diplomats, overseas parliaments and international bodies – and, indeed, members of both Houses.
This really is how Parliament works. It is an expert, authoritative and unique insiders’ view, and essential reading for everyone who wants to know about this complex institution. A truly indispensable book.
Betty Boothroyd (Baroness Boothroyd), Speaker of the House of Commons 1992-2000
Bang up to date, crystal clear and as insightful as ever – How Parliament Works is the essential guide to exactly what it says on the cover.
Nick Robinson, Political Editor, BBC
Always erudite, but never dull, it should be on the shelves of every Parliamentarian, and of everyone who really cares about Parliament. As indispensable as Erskine May, it is a masterpiece.
Patrick Cormack (Lord Cormack, also a Member of the House of Commons 1970-2010)
Anyone wanting to know what really happens in Parliament – as opposed to the widely peddled myths – should read this latest edition of How Parliament Works. From a lifetime of experience at Westminster, the authors explain the procedures, powers and role – as well as, crucially, the culture and habits – in a readable way. No-one should put themselves up as a parliamentary candidate, or become a political journalist, or a senior civil servant, without reading this book.
Peter Riddell, Director, Institute for Government
This is the best introduction known to me and required reading for anyone who wishes to understand the working of Parliament. It is clear, thorough and authoritative.
Vernon Bogdanor, Professor of Government, King’s College, London
Comprising twelve expertly written and highly readable chapters on the history, composition, work, and future of Parliament, it is a handy factual resource for the uninitiated and a brilliant fact checker for the more knowledgeable reader. … this book is much more than simply a procedural tract work. Alongside the factual information lies a seemingly more personal account of the passage of legislation.
Dr Louise Thompson, Lecturer in British Politics, University of Surrey
The most succinct current definition of the convention can be found in the latest edition of what I regard as almost a Westminster bible, How Parliament Works, sculpted by two of the finest clerkly minds of recent times.
Peter Hennessy is Attlee Professor of Contemporary British History at Queen Mary, University of London
1. Parliament: its home and origins 2. Who is in Parliament? 3. Running Parliament 4. Influences on Parliament 5. The parliamentary day and the organisation of business 6. Making the law 7. Parliament and the taxpayer 8. Debates 9. Calling to account: questions 10. Calling to account: select committees 11. Parliament and Europe 12. The future of Parliament