Statistical Profile of Government Bills
A government’s legislative programme for a session is always a mixed bag comprising measures both big and small, innovatory and routine, controversial and agreed, urgent and dispensable. It is constructed so as to make the maximum use of parliamentary time throughout the session, for the House of Lords as well as for the House of Commons, and for the work of standing committees as well as for that done on the floor of the house. Only two of the four sessions of the 1970–74 parliament can be reckoned typical even in respect of their length. 1970/71 lasted some 15 months and 1973/74 less than four. The 1970/71 programme was also unusual in that it incorporated several measures carried over from the previous government’s 1969/70 programme which had been lost because of the early end to the session brought about by the dissolution of parliament in June 1970. The 1973/74 programme on the other hand was conspicuous for the bills that failed (and for some that were never introduced). The session-by-session figures for this parliament therefore need to be analysed with some caution and, for what it is worth, the picture is outlined in Table 4.1. Subject to these reservations, there appear to be three significant features.
KeywordsStatistical Profile Standing Committee English Bill Policy Bill Statutory Instrument
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- 5.Cf. Peter G. Richards, Parliament and Foreign Affairs (London: Allen & Unwin, 1967) p. 79: ‘Foreign affairs is a matter for negotiation rather than legislation, and in negotiations international law is of greater import than the domestic law of the homeland.’Google Scholar