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Legislation at WestminsterParliamentary Actors and Influence in the Making of British Law$
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Meg Russell and Daniel Gover

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198753827

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198753827.001.0001

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Government Drafting and Handling of Legislation

Government Drafting and Handling of Legislation

(p.46) 3 Government Drafting and Handling of Legislation
Legislation at Westminster

Meg Russell

Daniel Gover

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides an in-depth analysis of the government’s role in the Westminster legislative process, drawing both from the public record and interviews with insiders. It demonstrates that government is more responsive to parliament than is often assumed. The chapter begins by explaining some of the key contributors to the process inside government—including ministers, civil servants, and government lawyers. It provides a summary of the limited literature on these actors, and more generally on government’s role in the process. It summarizes the pre-parliamentary development of the 12 case study bills, including ‘agenda setting’ ‘policy formulation’, and legislative drafting. It also discusses government’s role during the parliamentary stages. It emphasizes that throughout the process government is mindful of parliament’s likely response (‘anticipated reactions’), which creates hidden forms of parliamentary power. It also discusses the sources of government amendments, showing that these are often driven by parliamentary concerns.

Keywords:   government, executive, parliamentary counsel, civil servants, legislative drafting, policy consultation, government amendments, concessions, anticipated reactions, policy stages

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