Thomas Fleming, Niels Goet, and Radoslaw Zubek

A new data resource, the ParlRulesData project has created and published a complete dataset of the House of Commons’ Standing Orders from 1811 to 2015

Recent events have shone a spotlight on parliamentary procedure in the United Kingdom. Boris Johnson’s ongoing confrontation with parliament over Brexit has highlighted something already well known to political scientists – parliamentary rules have important political consequences. This makes it all the more important to be able to describe and explain how parliament has evolved over time.

A new data resource, ParlRulesData, aims to make this substantially easier. Previously, we have lacked long-term, reliable, machine-readable data on the evolution of parliamentary procedure in the UK. Tracing parliament’s development over time required scholars to compare successive editions of parliament’s formal rules, known as ‘Standing Orders’. However, this is very time-consuming, making it hard to trace changes over long periods of time.

To fill this gap, the ParlRulesData project has created and published a complete dataset of the House of Commons’ Standing Orders from 1811 to 2015. This provides a new version of the Standing Orders after every date on which they were amended. It also makes it possible to trace how particular rules have developed across successive versions of the Standing Orders.

This data can be explored and downloaded at ParlRulesData.org.

Recent political developments have made it more important than ever to understand how the British parliament works. By making this data publicly available, we hope to make that task easier.

 

Thomas Fleming, University of Oxford