Good start to the year…

415TczaNa8L__SX313_BO1,204,203,200_The year has got off to a good start.  Two articles of mine are published this month as well as a book chapter.  This morning, I received the January issue of Parliamentary Affairs, which carries my article on ‘The Fixed-term Parliaments Act and Votes of Confidence’.  I had already received a copy of the January issue of Public Law, which includes my analysis of what happens if a Prime Minister dies.  It is a subject in which academics have not shown much interest, but which has exercised the minds of successive Cabinet Secretaries.

This month also sees the print publication (it is already available electronically) of an edited volume on parliamentarians’ professional development, in which I have a chapter on the training of MPs in the United Kingdom.  It used to be the case that MPs received no training, or indeed any guidance, but were expected to turn up on the first day of Parliament and take it from there.  Some Members turned up never having set foot before in the Palace of Westminster.  Though Members were often socialised into party activity, they had no knowledge of how the House of Commons operated.  The situation has improved significantly over the past thirty years, with training and guidance sessions laid on by the parties and House authorities, but there is still some way to go.

About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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5 Responses to Good start to the year…

  1. Last year I wrote a blog about this. It compares succession arrangements in the US, UK and France. You and your readers might find it of mild interest.

  2. seanjm72 says:

    This might be a stupid question , and I suppose I have to subscribe to Public Law to find the answer …but how is what happens if a PM dies any different to if they resign ?( other than the obvious death )

    • Lord Norton says:

      If a Prime Minister resigns, the expectation is that they will remain in post until a successor is elected by the party membership (as happened with Wilson, Thatcher, Blair). That way there is no gap. If a PM dies, that is not possible.

      • James Hand says:

        A fascinating article with a wondrous first footnote! I’d assumed the Cabinet came to a conclusion about the successor quite quickly in 1957 (‘Wab or Hawold’) though 1963 certainly showed the problems.

        Now the Lord Chancellor is no longer necessarily ‘a senior member of the Cabinet, who is not a contender for the leadership’, a solution could perhaps be found by introducing a caretaker from outside the Cabinet but on the same lines. No big political decisions would be taken during the leadership election and the chair of the Cabinet need not be a political figure so the past (if not current) President of the Supreme Court or LCJ could be in line to take the reins temporarily (as happened in Greece).

  3. tizres says:

    Lord Norton, Mr Osborne’s devolution deal has made its way across the Pennines and my views are being sought. OK, not so much sought from me, rather a questionnaire has been sent to the residents of my council, one of seven that make up the North East Combined Authority, which they are calling a poll.

    It arrived in an envelope from the Electoral Reform Society, with the questions developed by Durham University “to ensure independence”. The questions are as in the following link:

    Might this be a useful companion competition here called, say, “Pin the Tail to the Shonky”?

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