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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My overview of the recent Public Administration Committee hearing on the work of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman for Democratic Audit (3 December 3013), highlighting the need to integrate different citizens redress services and make them more local.
My article with Craig Berry for the International Longevity Centre UK (12 November 2013), responding to Gus O’Donnell’s criticism of older people’s benefits in a recent article for Political Quarterly. We argued his diagnosis of the problem was misleading and his proposed solution betrayed anti-democratic sentiment.
My article with Sean Kippin for Total Politics (15 October 2013), arguing that voters in the constituency of the House of Commons Speaker are disenfranchised by parliamentary custom. We suggested ways of reforming the office to address this democratic deficit.
My article, co-written with Sean Kippin, for Democratic Audit (27 August 2013) on the way Speakers of the House of Commons are elected. We argued that Speakers’ constituents are disenfranchised by the process, and consider what the UK can learn from other countries.
Part two of my data analysis for Democratic Audit (8 August 2013) on MPs’ geographical roots, considering where MPs went to university and worked before their election. I found, in particular, that the southern regions of England are over-represented in MPs’ employment and academic backgrounds.