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

Civil Service

Civil servants are required by the Civil Service Code to show 'integrity, honesty, impartiality and objectivity' in all their work in assisting the Government in making and administering policy. They are required, as servants of the Crown, to owe their loyalty to the Prime Minister, who is invited by the monarch to form a government....Read More

Committee of the Whole House (Commons)

As the name suggests, a Committee of the Whole House is when the Committee Stage of a Bill is taken on the floor of the Commons. Such committees normally only take place for emergency Bills, for certain clauses of the Finance Bill and for the clauses of Bills that have constitutional significance. All MPs may...Read More

Committee of the Whole House (Lords)

This stage normally starts at least two weeks after Second Reading. All Bills in the Lords normally go to a Committee of the Whole House, which, as the name suggests is a committee taken on the floor of the Lords. On occasion, Bills may be sent to a Grand Committee – an increasingly common practice....Read More

Committee Stage

This stage is normally at least two weeks after Second Reading. There are two types of committee stage – Standing Committee and a Committee of the Whole House. Either may consider a Bill or the clauses of a Bill may be split between the two.Read More

Committees (Scotland)

Scottish parliament committees scrutinise both the work of the executive and all legislation. They are also deliberative, coming up with proposals for new bills, taking evidence on current affairs and reporting on issues affecting Scotland and Scottish people. In this way, Scottish parliament committees resemble those of the European parliament more than those at Westminster....Read More

Committees (Wales)

The Assembly's powers to scrutinise the work of the Executive are similar to those of the UK Parliament. Most such work is carried out in committee. There are three types of committees – standing committees, subject committees and regional committees. The standing committees include the Audit and Legislation Committees, which are required by the Act,...Read More

Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy (Europe)

Common Agricultural Policy Agriculture accounts for only 2.5 per cent of EU GDP and 5.5 per cent of employment, and yet alone it accounts for between 40 and 50 per cent of the EU's annual spending. There are a number of reasons for the enormous attention paid to agriculture by the EU. Historically, protection for...Read More


Members of the House of Lords are called peers. About 687 people have the right to sit in the House of Lords but the they do not all derive their right to sit from the same place. Members of the Lords fall into the following categories – life peers, remaining hereditary peers, law lords (collectively...Read More

Conservative party

The Conservatives have exhibited their most impressive historical quality over the last five years: the capacity for change. But the demands of government mean their weaknesses are also becoming increasingly prominent. By Ian Dunt It's the oldest political party in the world for the simple reason that it adapts. And that particular trait of the...Read More

Consideration of Commons Amendments

If a Bill is amended in the Commons, it must return to the Lords for peers to endorse or reject changes made there. The Government tables motions agreeing or disagreeing with Commons Amendments. It may also move amendments in lieu of changes rejected. Given the balance of power in Parliament, the Lords are normally considering...Read More

Consideration of Lords Amendments

If a Bill is amended in the Lords, or the Lords reject or change amendments made by MPs, it must return to the Commons for MPs to endorse or reject the opinion of the Lords. Proceedings on the Consideration of Lords Amendments are programmed as with all other stages. The Government tables motions agreeing or...Read More

Consideration of referred proposals (Europe)

The council is the EU's principal legislative body, a role it shares with the EP in some cases. It has greater powers to block and to facilitate commission proposals than the EP. Once a proposal from the commission is received by the council's general secretariat, it goes through two stages before reaching the Council of...Read More


Government consultations are sounding exercises on the possibility of a government policy or a change in policy. They can be formal or informal, inviting views from interested groups and individuals, and may take the form of a series of open questions put to the consultee. In some cases, the consultees for changes in the law...Read More

Consultation, Co-Decision, Co-Operation and Assent procedures (Europe)

The EP's opinions carry a level of importance that is determined by the procedure under which a proposal is being pursued. The relevant procedure for any particular proposal is set out in the treaties. The four procedures in use are: 1. Consultation 2. Co-decision 3. Co-operation 4. Assent The first two are the most important,...Read More