Web links: Chapter 01

We list below some links designed to support research, teaching and learning about Parliament and its members. Subsequent chapters include more specialised material relating to each particular topic.

The History of Parliament

Interactive video of the development of Parliament and democracy

An Introduction to Parliament – short 8 minute video about the development of Parliament, including key historical events. 

The Evolution of Parliament – short written pages on key milestones in the development of parliamentary democracy.

How Parliament Works

How Parliament Works in 60 seconds – a very short introduction to the institution.

Parliament Explained – a series of short podcasts on different aspects of Parliament and procedure (e.g. Government and Parliament, select committees).

Standing Orders of the House of Commons – the rules of procedure which govern how the Commons works (includes the chamber and committees)

Standing Orders of the House of Lords – includes a list of the rules which govern how the chamber works, plus specific guides for the Deputy Speakers and for promoting private members’ bills.

Glossary of parliamentary terms – A quick way to learn what different terms mean. This is at the very bottom of parliament’s homepage so often missed.

Parliament’s Flickr Page – for photos of different parts of the parliamentary estate as well as events such as State Opening and the swearing in of MPs.

Parliament’s YouTube channel – lots of short videos on how the institution works as well as tours and other topical videos.

Frequently Asked Questions – includes answers to things like ‘Is the Queen allowed to vote?’ and the salaries of MPs, ministers and the Prime Minister. 

Using Parliament’s Website

Parliament’s website stores a wide range of material, including expert briefings and several searchable databases. See for instance:

Hansard – the record of all parliamentary debates in the Commons and Lords (searchable by date and by MP). This record goes back to 2010. You can find archives dating back to 1988 here. For older debates (1803 – 2005) look at Historic Hansard.

Written Questions and Answers Database

Business Papers – the place to go if you are looking for copies of the Order Paper (the list of business of the agenda for each day in the Commons)

House of Commons and House of Lords Library Briefings – includes longer briefings and short bite size information about a wide range of topics including bills being debated in parliament

Parliamentary Information Lists (great for finding statistics like the number of sitting days as well as lists of the youngest MPs, select committee chairs and much more)

House of Commons Sessional Returns – information and statistics about business in the chamber and its committees per each parliamentary session (e.g. number of bills considered, committee attendance, number of committee publications)

Second Reading Blog – a site maintained by the Commons Library with short updates and links to their briefings. You can subscribe to receive updates for different topics here.

Parliament TV – search and watch Commons and Lords debates or committees from December 2007 onwards.

Art in Parliament – photographs and information about all of the artwork on display in the Commons and Lords.

Information about MPs

It’s easy to find out about the work of MPs using these tools:

MP portraits – taken for the first time after the 2017 General Election. Once you’ve selected an MP you can download different versions of their portrait. Read about why and how these photos were taken here.

Profiles of MPs (where you can also find out who your MP is by entering your postcode)

Contributions to parliamentary debates

Written Questions tabled

Early Day Motions

IPSA - Expenses and Other Annual Costs

Information about Peers

Profiles of Peers

List of hereditary peers

Voting Records (by party or group)

Statistical Profile of Membership

Contributions to parliamentary debates

Finance and Expenses Information

Register of Members’ Financial Interests – you can also find a register for members’ staff and for lobby journalists.

IPSA Annual Reports and Accounts

IPSA - Expenses and Other Annual Costs

External Websites and blogs

Constitution Unit – academic research on parliament. See the Unit’s blog in particular.

Hansard Society – you can download publications from them here. See in particular the society’s annual Audit of Political Engagement.

The History of Parliament – a Trust that undertakes historical research on Parliament. See its blog here.

Parliamentary Archives

Political Studies Association (PSA) Parliaments Specialist Group – professional association bringing together academics and practitioners with an interest in the study of parliament. The group also has a blog.

Guides on Using and Referencing Parliamentary Material

You may also like to see the following guides, designed for students as well as for teachers/lecturers:

Referencing Parliamentary Material

Parliament as a Teaching Resource: A guide for lecturers

Case Study Portfolio: Applying Parliamentary Material in Teaching

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