Research briefings

This page provides access to research briefings produced by the House of Commons Library, the House of Lords Library and the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). You can filter the research briefings by date, type, or one of 350 topics. Pick your options from the dropdown menus.

Find a briefing paper
  1. Close

    Glossary

    • Commons Briefing papers: Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
    • Lords Library Notes: Authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
    • POSTbriefs: Responsive policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on mini-literature reviews and peer review, typically commissioned by select committees and library research services.
    • POSTnotes: Proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board.
  2. Close

    Topics

    Topics: Research material can be filtered by subject using the topic terms. The topics are arranged in a taxonomy (a hierarchical classification) and can be further filtered using sub-topics.

Displaying 21-40 out of 45

Timetable for the UK Parliamentary General election
Published Wednesday, September 10, 2014 | Commons Briefing papers SN06574
The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 fixes the date of the next general election as 7 May 2015, and provides for five year intervals between elections. The Act ends the prerogative power of dissolution. The Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 made provision for lengthening the UK Parliamentary election timetable, both for general and by-elections. These provisions have been brought into force and Parliament will have to be dissolved 25 rather than 17 days before the general election on 7 May 2015.
Pre-election contacts between civil servants and opposition parties
Published Thursday, May 22, 2014 | Commons Briefing papers SN03318
By convention, opposition parties are entitled to enter into confidential discussions with senior civil servants in the run-up to a general election. This note outlines the current arrangements and also provides a brief history of the convention.
UK Election Statistics: 1918-2012
Published Tuesday, August 7, 2012 | Commons Briefing papers RP12-43
This paper presents an overview of results from UK elections since 1918, including elections to the House of Commons, the European Parliament, devolved bodies and local government.
Postal voting and electoral fraud 2001-09
Published Wednesday, March 14, 2012 | Commons Briefing papers SN03667
This note gives a brief history of postal voting and sets out the main electoral offences. It covers the period 2001-09; for information about electoral fraud since 2010 see Standard Note 6255, Electoral fraud since 2010.
Sizes of Constituency Electorates
Published Friday, March 4, 2011 | Commons Briefing papers SN05677
The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act contains measures to set the number of UK parliamentary constituencies at 600 and to limit the permitted variation in the number of registered electors for a constituency. This note considers the possible impact by region of the proposals in the Bill and compares the sizes of constituency electorates at 1 December 2010. It looks at the variation in electorate sizes about national and regional means and about the UK Electoral Quota as defined in the Act.
Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill: Lords stages
Published Tuesday, February 15, 2011 | Commons Briefing papers SN05780
This Note summarises the Lords stages of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill 2010-11. It supplements Research Paper 10/55 which was produced for the Bill's second reading in the House of Commons and Research Paper 10/72 which summarises all the Commons stages of the Bill.
Wash-up 2010
Published Friday, February 11, 2011 | Commons Briefing papers RP11-18
The wash-up period at the end of a Parliament allows a Government to get onto the statute book essential or non-controversial legislation that would not otherwise complete its passage through Parliament because of Dissolution. This paper describes the wash-up process; reviews the proceedings on wash-up in 2010; and provides details of Bills that received Royal Assent in each of the last six wash-up periods.
General Election 2010
Published Wednesday, February 2, 2011 | Commons Briefing papers RP10-36
No single party won an overall majority at the 2010 General Election, for the first time in the UK since February 1974. The Conservatives won the most seats, 306, a net change of 96 compared with notional 2005 general election results. Labour were down by 90 seats, leaving them with 258, while the Liberal Democrat total of 57 was five fewer than 2005. General Election 2010 provides detailed analysis of the results of the 2010 General Election. The data for votes cast and electorates agree with the official results published by the Electoral Commission. This Research Paper replaces the analysis published on 8 July 2010 which used provisional data.
Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill 2010-11: Commons Stages
Published Thursday, November 11, 2010 | Commons Briefing papers RP10-72
This Paper summarises all Commons stages of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill 2010-11. It supplements Research Paper 10/55 which was produced for the Bill’s Second Reading and replaces Standard Note 5697 'Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill: Progress of the Bill'. No major changes were made during the passage of the Bill in the Commons, but the text of the referendum question was altered and legislative provision was made for the combination of polls on 5 May 2011.
The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill [Bill 63 of 2010-11]
Published Wednesday, September 1, 2010 | Commons Briefing papers RP10-55
This Paper has been prepared for the Second Reading debate in the House of Commons. The Bill seeks to enable the next general election to be fought under the Alternative Vote system, provided this change is endorsed in a referendum on 5 May 2011 and boundary changes have been made to reduce the size of the House of Commons to 600. New rules for the redistribution of seats are designed to give primacy to numerical equality in constituencies and regular redistributions would take place every five years.
Redistributing parliamentary boundaries: some international comparisons
Published Wednesday, July 28, 2010 | Commons Briefing papers SN05629
This note describes how constituency boundaries are redrawn in a number of other countries: Canada, Australia, the USA and France. Much of the material in the note is taken from a key text on the subject, Redistributing in comparative perspective edited by Lisa Handley and Bernard Grofman.
Timing of Parliamentary election counts
Published Friday, April 23, 2010 | Commons Briefing papers SN05166
There has been speculation in the press about the timing of counts at the general election. This note looks at the statutory requirements concerning the count and summarises recent reports suggesting that the count will be moved from Thursday night to Friday in certain areas.
2010 General Election: new constituencies; seats and swing
Published Friday, April 2, 2010 | Commons Briefing papers SN05280
The 2010 General Election will use new constituency boundaries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland the boundaries will be the same as 2005. After the election there will be 650 seats in the House of Commons, four more than the 646 now. In partisan terms, the new areas give a net benefit to the Conservatives. If the 2005 election had been fought on the new boundaries the Conservatives would have gained around 12 additional seats and Labour seven fewer.
Electorate statistics 2009
Published Friday, March 26, 2010 | Commons Briefing papers SN05423
This Note provides data on the number of electors and attainers in each parliamentary constituency as at 1 December 2009, published by the Office for National Statistics on 26 February 2010.
Wash-up
Published Thursday, March 25, 2010 | Commons Briefing papers SN05398
This note provides a brief outline of the procedures followed at the end of Parliament to ensure the enactment of some of the legislation that has not completed its passage through Parliament when a general election is called. The note also gives details of the time available for wash-up following the announcement of general elections since 1983.
Election publications: printer and publisher details
Published Monday, March 1, 2010 | Commons Briefing papers SN02174
This note discusses the requirement in election law for a candidate's election leaflets and other documents to carry the name and address of the printer and publisher. It discusses the category of offence within which a failure to do so falls, and the other different types of election offices. It also discusses the ability of someone guilty of an 'offence' to apply for relief as a result of inadvertence.
Donations to Members of Parliament
Published Thursday, December 17, 2009 | Commons Briefing papers SN01119
From 1 July 2009 Members no longer have to report certain donations to both the Electoral Commission and Registrar of Members' Interests. The Note examines the history behind this dual requirement enacted in the Political Parties, Election and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA). Section 59 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 provided for dual registration to end, but implementation of this provision was delayed until July 2009. The Note also sets out the new limits on donations which have to be declared by Members, enacted in the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009.
PIL: New Parliamentary Constituencies for England
Published Thursday, November 5, 2009 | Commons Briefing papers SN04297
Candidate selection-Primaries
Published Wednesday, September 23, 2009 | Commons Briefing papers SN05168
This Note looks at the possibility of introducing primaries into the candidate selection processes of UK political parties, following the experiment of an open primary in Totnes, Devon, by the Conservative Party. It also examines experience of primaries in the United States, where the procedure is well established.

Displaying 21-40 out of 45

About libraries

House of Commons Library

The House of Commons Library provides research, analysis and information services for MPs and their staff.

House of Lords Library

The House of Lords Library delivers research and information services to Members and staff of the House in support of parliamentary business.

POST

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology produces independent, balanced and accessible briefings on public policy issues related to science and technology.

Stay up to date

  • Subscribe to RSS feed Subscribe to Email alerts Commons Briefing papers
  • Subscribe to RSS feed Subscribe to Email alerts Lords In Focus
  • Subscribe to RSS feed Subscribe to Email alerts Lords Library notes
  • Subscribe to RSS feed Subscribe to Email alerts POSTnotes
  • Subscribe to RSS feed Subscribe to Email alerts POSTbriefs