2020 - Week 3

The week started in high excitement. Anya and Michael had mistakenly and somewhat drunkenly volunteered to give a talk at the Study of Parliament Group conference in Oxford. And for some reason their offer had been taken up. Armed with the conceit that if Erskine May had had a computer he may not have written a book and some lovely slides courtesy of Robert, they took to the stage. They’d like to thank David for offering a friendly front row face which Michael chose to not look past. It seemed to go quite well. But they were perhaps too nervous to remember.

On the Monday, Librarian Jayne and Michael had the first of many conversations about explicit modelling of motions to consider. Current Statutory Instrument procedure maps have a committee debate step. This doesn’t cope at all well with the edge case of a committee having a debate on a motion to consider, and then deciding they have in fact not considered. Which is a thing that’s been known to happen. So we need to do a better job with consideration motions. Motions to refer to a Delegated Legislation Committee can also be tricky as Members can reject the motion. But if they do, it just comes back on another day and gets asked again. Generally, we need to do better with all motions.

Also on Monday, Librarian Jayne and Michael drew up what they hope looks something like a generic motion model. It’s been sent to David, Martyn and Andrew for much needed feedback. If it passes muster they hope to roll it out across all procedures for all motions. This should hopefully resolve the issues mentioned above.

On Tuesday, Robert and Michael pored over the code for the Standing Order application they’ve hacked together. There was a problem with the numbering of fragments. This led to fragment number 10 overwriting fragment number one and fragment number 20 overwriting fragment number two and so on. Investigations proved it was not, for once, a problem with their code, but a problem with the source data. They got in touch with the research group in Oxford who set out to fix it.

Librarian Jayne ran our regular meeting to talk through some issues in the procedure maps. There was more talk of motions. And the explicit modelling thereof. We feel explicit motion modelling is one that will run and run.