If there is a public inquiry into Covid-19, what will it look like?

If there is a public inquiry into Covid-19, what will it look like?

Nick Dickinson draws on previous inquiries to discuss what a public one into the Covid-19 crisis may look like. He concludes that, while an inquiry into the government’s response may be necessary for evaluating what went right and what went wrong, an inquiry should nonetheless not be seen as inevitable nor the most useful way to provide accountability.

Book Review | Peter Shore: Labour’s Forgotten Patriot by Kevin Hickson, Jasper Miles and Harry Taylor

Book Review | Peter Shore: Labour’s Forgotten Patriot by Kevin Hickson, Jasper Miles and Harry Taylor

In Peter Shore: Labour’s Forgotten Patriot, Kevin Hickson, Jasper Miles and Harry Taylor looks back at the ‘lost Eurosceptic tradition’ within the Labour Party’s history by examining the life of the largely neglected front-rank politician, Peter Shore. This skillfully crafted and revealing biography not only reappraises Shore’s career, but uses this as a lens to examine salient issues in the historical development of the Labour Party, writes Patrick Diamond.

The case of Catalonia: understanding the political use of de facto independence referendums

The case of Catalonia: understanding the political use of de facto independence referendums

Independence referendums are comparatively rare – and even more so when conducted without the approval of the relevant central government. Jaume López and Marc Sanjaume-Calvet assess the case of Catalonia in 2017, and how the differing strategic priorities and culture of Spanish and Catalonian governments led to the referendum, repressive counter-measures and resulting stalemate.

How Private Members’ legislation improved local government social value

How Private Members’ legislation improved local government social value

Chris Game assesses the efficacy of one of Parliament’s most antiquated procedures, the Private Members’ Bill, and finds that, though they have proliferated to little effect, in some notable cases, including local government procurement, they have instigated considerable reform.

Posted in: Parliament
It is time for automatic voter registration in the UK

It is time for automatic voter registration in the UK

Ahead of each UK election, there is a rush to get people registered to vote, and confusion about who is already registered. In a new report Toby James and Paul Bernal set out how to improve the system while protecting data privacy, through automatic or assisted voter registration, and so widen access to democratic participation.

Bedding down, treading water and taking two steps forward: gender equality and the 2019–20 House of Commons select committee elections

Bedding down, treading water and taking two steps forward: gender equality and the 2019–20 House of Commons select committee elections

Stephen Holden Bates, Stephen McKay and Mark Goodwin assess the gender balance on the newly elected select committees, and their chairs, and find there have been clear improvements in some areas. However, further progress cannot be assumed, and they recommend Parliament considers more reforms to improve representation within its committee system.

Posted in: Parliament
Covid-19 lockdowns: early evidence suggests political support and trust in democracy has increased

Covid-19 lockdowns: early evidence suggests political support and trust in democracy has increased

Making use of cross-country European survey data that was fielded both before and after Covid-19 lockdowns were implemented, André Blais, Damien Bol, Marco Giani and Peter Loewen find that support for the incumbent leader, support for government in general, and trust in democracy have all increased in the short term.

Covid-19 is increasing the divide in life chances between rich and poor

Covid-19 is increasing the divide in life chances between rich and poor

Lee Elliot Major and Stephen Machin propose reforms and urgent actions to tackle economic and educational inequalities in the UK.

Faced with an ‘infodemic’ of fake news about Covid-19, most people are checking their facts – but we mustn’t be complacent

Faced with an ‘infodemic’ of fake news about Covid-19, most people are checking their facts – but we mustn’t be complacent

As fake news spreads about Covid-19, early evidence suggest that most people are responding sensibly, and double-checking the information they receive. However, given trust in journalism remains low, it remains vital, argues Paul Reilly, that we all act responsibility, and verify what we read and watch.

Covid-19: why the emerging public debt crisis needs urgent engagement by parliamentarians

Covid-19: why the emerging public debt crisis needs urgent engagement by parliamentarians

As parliaments around the world adjust to working remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic, Franklin De Vrieze argues that it is vital that they not only scrutinise governments’ public health policies, but also have a role in overseeing the ensuing new public debt, particularly in developing countries.