Achieving accountable government

Majoritarianism reinterpreted: why Parliament is more influential than often thought

Majoritarianism reinterpreted: why Parliament is more influential than often thought

Though Westminster is often seen as lacking the teeth to affect government policy, this is not the case, writes Felicity Matthews. She argues that reforms to shift the balance between government and parliament have served to offset the declining vote basis of government, and have ensured that Westminster remains responsive to a majority of the electorate through the legislative process.

American democracy sold to the highest bidder

American democracy sold to the highest bidder

If the quality of democracy is to be measured by the extent to which it constrains the economically dominant, then American democracy is failing, writes George Tyler. Recent research has shown how campaign financing is skewing policy influence towards top earners. This is in contrast to many northern European countries, which can offer practical models for the US to follow.   

The Lords are unlikely to derail or overly delay the passage of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill

The Lords are unlikely to derail or overly delay the passage of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill

Richard Reid explains why the House of Lords is unlikely to derail or overly delay the passage of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill that is about to be introduced into the Chamber. He contends that while the mood of the House regarding Brexit is difficult to tell, it seems that there is little appetite for a direct collision with the government in the form of blocking or wrecking the bill. However, we are likely to see some successful amendments regarding the acquis, devolution and Parliamentary sovereignty that will win support from across the party groupings.

Just how special are special advisers within the UK civil service?

Just how special are special advisers within the UK civil service?

Using the most recent government data, Sir Richard Mottram (LSE) discusses what we know about special advisers, and specifically what we know about their pay. He argues that more light needs to be shed both on the system and the government’s narrative about it. 

Constitutional change in local government: council backbench committees have the potential to enhance overview and scrutiny

Constitutional change in local government: council backbench committees have the potential to enhance overview and scrutiny

The Wright reforms of the House of Commons’ select committees increased the effectiveness of parliamentary scrutiny in Westminster. Andrew Coulson (Institute of Local Government Studies, University of Birmingham) assesses whether the proposed Betts reforms to local authority oversight and scrutiny committees could do the same for local government. 

Accountability in a one-party system: the task of gauging public opinion in Vietnam

Accountability in a one-party system: the task of gauging public opinion in Vietnam

Vietnam is a one-party state: it is characterised variously as ‘not free’, ‘developmental’ and ‘responsive-regressive’. Dennis Curry explains how the UN Development Programme and a local think-tank worked together to get an insight into what citizens think of public service delivery and local governance. Their PAPI survey shows a growing concern for the environment, although it […]

How are PMs held to account? A survey of procedures in 32 parliamentary democracies

How are PMs held to account? A survey of procedures in 32 parliamentary democracies

How are prime ministers held to account by their parliaments, and how do UK mechanisms on the matter fare in comparison to those in other countries? Ruxandra Serban (University College London) explores the different procedures in place across 32 parliamentary democracies to answer these questions.

Brian Klaas: ‘The incentives for a Trump 2.0 will be exactly the same as the incentives for Trump’

Brian Klaas: ‘The incentives for a Trump 2.0 will be exactly the same as the incentives for Trump’

In his first year in power, argues Brian Klaas (LSE), Donald Trump has deployed the tactics of despots and begun to corrode the institutions of US democracy. What happens next? Democratic Audit editor Ros Taylor talks to him about his new book, The Despot’s Apprentice. Similar PostsDisgusted by Donald Trump? Turning away from the spectacle […]

How the planning system lets homeowners overwhelm the broader public interest

How the planning system lets homeowners overwhelm the broader public interest

Britain needs more housing, especially in the South East, yet the green belt still enjoys a great deal of protection from development. John Sturzaker (University of Liverpool) looks at the difficulty of establishing whether NIMBYism is motivated by self-interest or legitimate concerns – and the imbalance of power between people who need housing, and those […]

Where would an English Parliament be located?

Where would an English Parliament be located?

Ongoing UCL Constitution Unit research is exploring options for an English Parliament. The choice of location would have major practical implications, as well as being of high symbolic importance. Jack Sheldon (UCL Constitution Unit) sets out the factors that would need to be considered. He suggests that while a ‘dual mandate’ English Parliament would almost certainly meet […]