Westminster Hall Debates Moving for September


During September Westminster Hall debates will be relocated to Committee Room 10.

 For the two weeks of the September sitting all sittings of the House in ‘Westminster Hall’ (the Grand Committee Room) will take place in Committee Room 10 on the Main Committee Corridor.

This is to allow stair-free access to these sittings to be maintained while works are carried out to the lift serving the Grand Committee Room. Sittings will return to the Grand Committee Room from October.

Electoral Reform Society report into women’s representation in politics


Today sees the launch of  “Sex and Power 2014: Who runs Britain?” which shows just how little progress has been made on gender equality in the UK’s political institutions and suggests what the UK’s governments, parliaments, political parties and media should do about it.

Among the report’s key findings is that the House of Commons has slipped from 59th (in early 2010) to 65th (today) in the world ranking of parliaments for gender equality.

Just 22.7% of our MPs are women. And whilst the figure for some of the devolved parliaments is better – 41.7% of Welsh Assembly members are women, for example – the situation amongst political journalists is even worse. Over 91% of print and broadcast political editors are male.

Today’s report makes six recommendations for what must happen to change this situation. It was written by Counting Women In, a coalition of organisations including the Electoral Reform Society, the Centre for Women & Democracy, the Fawcett Society, the Hansard Society and Unlock Democracy.

Read the report (pdf)

Visit the Electoral Reform Society website

Member Tours and Elizabeth Tower Tours


The Tours office has just sent this note around to all staff:

The tours office have been listening carefully to feedback which has been received from a number of MPs and their staff over the past months in relation to the processes in place to make bookings for Member Tours and Elizabeth Tower tours. We would like to assure you that the feedback is taken very seriously and we are currently taking steps to review the way in which tours are allocated to try to ensure we are offering the most efficient and fair way of allocation to all Members. We are currently investigating options to make the system more efficient and effective.

In the meantime, we have looked at a quick resolution to one of the major concerns which has been the timing of bookings opening at the beginning of the month. Last year we took a decision to stipulate an opening time of 8.30am on the first working day of the month as we were receiving a high volume of requests at midnight. This seemed to be unfair to staff who were not able to send requests so late in the evening. We have subsequently listened to feedback from a number of staff who are unable to send requests until after 9am and are therefore still being impacted negatively by the opening time. We are therefore implementing a later booking opening time which will come into force from October.

This means that tour bookings will, from October, be accepted from midday on the first working day of the month
Bookings for tours in March 2014 will therefore open at midday on Wednesday 1st October.

They have updated the information on the intranet to reflect this change and also the impact that Dissolution will have on booking tours.

Please see the Member Tours http://intranet.parliament.uk/access-buildings/exhibitions-tours/parliamentary-tours/
and Elizabeth Tower Tours http://intranet.parliament.uk/access-buildings/exhibitions-tours/big-ben/ pages on the Parliamentary intranet for more information.

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Free Parliamentary War Memorial booklet


A free booklet exploring the history of Bertram Mackennal’s Parliamentary War Memorial is now available.

The booklet tells the fascinating but little-known history of the main memorial to MPs, Peers and staff who died in the First World War.

To download a free copy of the booklet, please click here.

Great Clock Hands will be stopping…

"Parliament Clock Westminster" by Aldaron — Aldaron, a.k.a. Aldaron - Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Parliament_Clock_Westminster.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Parliament_Clock_Westminster.jpg

“Parliament Clock Westminster” by Aldaron — Aldaron, a.k.a. Aldaron – Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Parliament_Clock_Westminster.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Parliament_Clock_Westminster.jpg

Technicians will be cleaning and maintaining the Great Clock during the week of 18 August, and will be pausing the clock’s hands, so don’t rely on a quick glance out of the window to tell you if you’re on time for that important meeting! Apparently the chimes will continue, as we’re advised that the technicians – some of whom will be asbseiling down to clean the clock faces – have been issued with ear defenders.


More on the Parliament website

Free online edition of Parliamentary Affairs


You may be interested in a special free online edition of Parliamentary Affairs, published  by the Hansard Society in advance of the Scottish independence referendum. Parliamentary Affairs editors Professors Philip Cowley and Jonathan Tonge have brought together a series of articles from the archive, to form a special online ‘virtual’ edition that will be free until the end of November.

You can read it on the Parliamentary Affairs website.

Student leaders wanted…


If you know a student then you might like to tell them about an offer from Elevation Networks. They are recruiting 25 ‘student leaders’ for their Student Leadership Development Programme, which gives people the chance to create and run a social action project.

They provide
• A mentor in your preferred industry;
• Training and resources;
• Opportunity to apply for funding.

Apply by 31 August – for more information go to



Parliamentary Outreach: Train the Trainer Training Available


On 23 and 24 September the Parliamentary Outreach Service will be delivering a 2 day training course as part of the ‘Training the Trainer’ programme at 14 Tothill Street, London SW1H 9NB.

The programme is based around a training resource which has been designed so that organisations are able themselves to deliver training and information about Parliament and how people can engage effectively. It consists of the following 11 modules and each module includes a session plan, presentation and group exercises. The modules are designed so that they can be delivered either in sequence or stand alone.

  • What is Democracy
  • What is Parliament
  • What is Government
  • What is the House of Commons and the role of an MP
  • What is the House of Lords and the role of a Lord
  • How is a law made
  • Local / National link
  • How to engage effectively
  • Select Committees
  • The devolved assemblies
  • The link between the European Parliament and the UK Parliament

If you would be interested in attending this training and please complete the Application Form and return it to parliamentaryoutreach@parliament.uk  .Places on this course are awarded according to how delegates plan to use the resource after the training with particular reference to reach, scope and sustainability so it is recommended to include as much detail as possible in the application.

The deadline for the application form is 22 August. The course is completely free of charge but the organisers ask that organisations sign a user agreement whereby they provide us with regular feedback as to how they are using the resource.

Please visit the website for further information about the course and additional dates and locations: http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/outreach-and-training/train-the-trainer/