Action Programmes (Europe)

Upon appointment, the EU Commission issues a five-year action programme, stating broadly the actions and legislation it intends to pursue. A more specific version of this is issued each year. In addition, action programmes for particular policy areas are issued that do not necessarily coincide with the Commission's term of office. This action programme is...Read More

Adjournment Debates

A debate on a motion for the adjournment of the House (an adjournment debate) allows for an issue to debated without a debate. It is best to think of motions to adjourn as technical devices to allow for debate without a vote rather than as a move to end proceedings. Broadly, an adjournment debate can...Read More

Akshata Murthy Profile

Overview Born in April 1980 in Hubli, a small town 250 miles north of Bangalore, Akshata Murthy was raised by her paternal grandparents in India. This gave room for her parents to build the software firm Infosys.  Her father, Nagvara Murthy, was Chief Executive of Infosys from 1981 to 2002. By 2019, Infosys’ revenues had...Read More

All-Party Groups

Numerous all-party groups (APGs) are set up in Parliament, each having its own terms of reference. They allow for MPs to promote the interests of certain subjects or countries (eg motorcycling or the USA) and have ad hoc cross-party membership. APGs are registered and regulated by House authorities.Read More

Alliance party

The Alliance party describes itself as a non-sectarian party which advocates co-operation between nationalist and unionist communities and is aligned with the Liberal Democrats. The Alliance party has been involved in Northern Irish politics since the early 1970s but it has never really been able to shrug off its small party status. Its most well-known...Read More

Assembly (Wales)

The Assembly is a bilingual body. It operates in English and Welsh and is overseen by a Presiding Officer – the chair – who is elected at the first plenary meeting after an election. An official record of proceedings in plenary sessions is maintained in both languages. It is normally published 24 hours after the...Read More

Bill Team

All Government Bills originate in departments and have Bill team of civil servants assigned to oversee the drafting and passage of the Bill, as supervised by the sponsoring Minister. Draft Bills also have Bill teams, who tend to participate in the pre-legislative scrutiny process in Parliament.Read More


The 24 most senior bishops in the Church of England are entitled to sit, speak and vote in the House. Apart from the two archbishops (of Canterbury and of York) and the Bishops of Durham, London and Winchester, the seniority of bishops is measured in the number of years they have held office. If a...Read More


The BNP's prominence in the news far outweighs its modest support. Before the setbacks of the 2010 general election many commentators became concerned the party would benefit from the 'perfect storm' of a recession and mass disillusionment with mainstream politics after the expenses crisis. In the 2005 general election, the party stood 119 candidates across...Read More

Business (Wales)

The agenda is normally decided by the Welsh Assembly Government in the person of the Business Minister (on the advice of the Business Committee), who tables a weekly business motion. If ten AMs have indicated that they object to the motion, it is put to a vote. The Assembly Government can normally rely on its...Read More

Business and the Parliamentary Bureau

The agenda for the parliament is decided by the Parliamentary Bureau, which agrees a weekly business motion. Chaired by the presiding officer, it is made up of representatives of each party with more than five MSPs and meets in private. Representatives' votes are weighted in line with their parties' seats in the parliament, so the...Read More

Business and the Usual Channels (Commons)

It is impossible to over-emphasise the importance of time, and the control of time, in the Commons. It is a key Parliamentary tactic because, except in certain circumstances, legislation falls if it does not become law before prorogation. This means that a government cannot fulfil its commitments to the electorate and implement its policy, which...Read More

Business and the Usual Channels (Lords)

Time is the dominant force in Lords as it is in the Commons. It is not, however, subject to the same tight control at the hands of the Government as it is in the Lower House. While there is a broad consensus that the Government has a right to its business, there is a similar...Read More

Business statement

The weekly business announcement by the Leader of the House takes the form of a statement, which is followed by requests for debates and changes to business from all sides. This normally lasts a full hour.Read More


The Cabinet is the pre-eminent body of government. Made up of the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and all other Secretaries of State, including other Ministers of 'Cabinet-rank' such as the Chief Whip, any Minister without Portfolio (normally a party chairman) or key Ministers of State (including the Chief Secretary to the Treasury) and the Commons...Read More

Cabinet Committees

Cabinet Committees are groupings of Ministers designed to take the pressure off full Cabinet and to provide a lower-level forum for decision-making, consideration of current issues relating to government and resolution of inter-departmental disagreement. Cabinet Committees are set up by the Prime Minister who appoints their membership, which varies and can include Ministers who do...Read More


As a recent innovation, a Bill first introduced in the Lords that has not yet completed its passage through the Upper House before prorogation may be carried over on the agreement of a motion.Read More

Carry-over of Bills

For an experimental period and with certain conditions, the life of a Bill first introduced in the Commons that has not completed its passage through the Lower House before prorogation will be extended by one Session.Read More

Case Law

Case law has a similar place in EU law to that held by common law in English law. Case law comprises the accumulated judgments of the European Courts – the European Court of Justice and the European Court of the First Instance. EU case law informs decision-making in the absence of an overriding statutory requirement...Read More