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Lest we forget: the 2009 expenses scandal began the push for a recall bill. Dominic Lipinski/PA

Watered-down recall bill proves MPs just don’t get it

“Meaningless”, “a stitch-up”, “a breathtakingly cynical attempt to convey an impression of democratic reform” – this was how Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith reacted to his own government’s announcement in…
This campaigning business…d'you ever wonder what it’s all about? Stefan Rousseau/PA

Newark by-election reminds us how crucial local campaigns are

With the political fallout from the local and European elections fresh in the memory, the electoral circus has moved on to Newark. At stake is the seat vacated by MP Patrick Mercer, who resigned over a…
‘Won’t Star Trek do?’ Suzanne Plunkett/PA

What is a banker doing as the new Minister of Fun?

So we have a new Culture Secretary. I wonder how he rates Daenerys Targaryen’s chances of snagging the most coveted seat of all, the Iron Throne. And whether he thinks Darren Aronofsky has succeeded in…
You’d think so, wouldn’t you? Lewis Whyld/PA

Miller resigns, but keeping MPs honest is still a messy business

The former culture secretary, Maria Miller, is the latest in a series of MPs to have been caught up in an expenses controversy. The issue of what parliamentarians do with their allowances has now embarrassed…
I’d just like to thank my Cabinet colleagues for their fulsome support… PA Wire

Dear Maria Miller, it really wasn’t all your fault

The news that Maria Miller decided to resign as culture secretary was not really much of a surprise. The only real surprise was the way that she had seemed to be toughing out the media feeding frenzy and…
Couldn’t happen here … or could it? Brian Mills

Budget 2015 could see a government shutdown in the UK

March 2015 could see a Washington-style impasse in the UK parliament over the government’s final budget proposals. The advent of coalition government, fixed terms in office, and a general resurgence of…
Banged up: a Bill on prisoners’ voting rights is presently before parliament. PA Archive

Prisoners should not be locked out of democracy

The news that Peter Chester and George McGeoch have had their Supreme Court appeal against the ban on prison inmates voting dismissed will cause few people on the outside to lose much sleep - in fact the…
Who will watch over politicians’ spending? Stephen Johnson

Why we need an independent Parliamentary Budget Office

Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, has declared he’d like the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) to assess Labour’s tax and spend policies before the next election. Robert Chote, the head of the OBR…
Money makes the world go round … or flat, depending on who is paying. Jason Mrachina

Bill protects lobbyists while targeting civil society

The government bill on lobbying currently making its way through parliament has trade unions and most of the non-government organisation (NGO) world up in arms. But they are not complaining about the provisions…
Popular south of the Border? David Cheskin/PA Wire

Growing support for Scottish independence … in England

The introduction of devolution in Scotland and Wales and its re-introduction in Northern Ireland was one of the major achievements of the Labour government. Yet its aspirations for fostering devolution…

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