Book Review – Making British Law: Committees in Action

I reviewed Louise Thompson’s new book on House of Commons bill committees for LSE Review of Books. The book offers a persuasive new account of committees’ work and shows how backbench MPs can influence legislation.

Better the Devil: A Response to Gus O’Donnell’s ‘Better Government’

Former Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell wrote an article shortly after his retirement from the Civil Service, criticising the ‘politicisation’ of policy-making. Craig Berry and I wrote a response for the academic journal Political Quarterly (7 April 2014), stressing that O’Donnell’s ideal depoliticised polity is in many ways a neo-liberal ideological construction that seeks to undermine voters’ ability to influence policy via the ballot box.

Selecting committee witnesses: a man’s world

My article for Total Politics (29 January 2014), with Sean Kippin, setting out findings of our research into the profile of witnesses appearing at parliamentary select committees. We showed that there are significant gender and geographical imbalances, which committees need to address.

The Treasury’s depoliticisation agenda

My post for the SPERI blog (28 January 2014) responding to the government’s proposal to appoint a Chief Financial Officer. I argued this was little more than a symbolic gesture, designed to further denigrate the role of elected politicians in democratic decision-making.

Parliamentary select committees: who gives evidence?

I conducted research for Democratic Audit (22 January 2014) into the profile of witnesses appearing at select committees, revealing a significant gender imbalance and the varying levels of access enjoyed by different types of organisation.