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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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The Role of Select Committees

The Role of Select Committees

(p.205) 8 The Role of Select Committees
Legislation at Westminster

Meg Russell

Daniel Gover

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the various means by which specialist select committees in both the House of Commons and House of Lords interact with and influence government legislation. The development of select committees is widely seen as important at Westminster, having encouraged greater expertise and specialization among members, and cross-party work. Yet the select committees have only a limited formal role in the legislative process, because the ‘committee stage’ occurs elsewhere. Nonetheless, this chapter shows extensive select committee influence on the 12 case study bills. The committees can be important to setting the policy agenda, informing members, influencing debate, encouraging amendments, and—potentially—supporting the government. This particularly applies to the constitutional committees in the House of Lords, and select committees conducting pre-legislative scrutiny of draft bills. However, other committees can also be important, as demonstrated by the Commons Health Committee’s intervention over the smoking ban in the Health Bill (2005–06).

Keywords:   select committees, draft bills, pre-legislative scrutiny, Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, DPRRC, Constitution Committee, Joint Committee on Human Rights, JCHR, Health Select Committee, smoking ban

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