2021 - Week 18


At least in theory, prorogation should not particularly affect the working lives of your correspondents. We are none of us what might be described as front line workers. As it turns out though, it’s been a bit of a slow week. Maybe we’re just tired. Or bored.

The change of session, brought back one of our hardy perennials: is a paper laid during prorogation considered to be laid in the preceding session or the following one? It’s a chestnut of a question that returns to haunt us whenever Parliament gets prorogued but not dissolved. We’re quite sure that we’ve asked it a dozen times and always understood the answer to be the preceding session. That’s certainly what we’ve documented. But once more doubts have surfaced. An email has been sent to a few of the usual suspects. Martyn has already got back with a pragmatic answer. Thanks Martyn. We wait to see whether Messrs. Beamish and Evans have spanners to spare.

Logical procedure mapping

Librarian Jayne and Michael spent some time hand checking the picture they drew of the newly logical Lords’ committee side of the treaty procedure, against the picture the machines attempted to scribble. No errors were found. So that’s a relief. Next week should see them return to the delights of Commons’ committees and then on to the rest of the hot mess of CRaG.

Parsing procedure maps

Michael has shaved another second off our procedure parsing code. What had been a set of queries running in templates is now far fewer queries done up front. And what started off taking around fifteen seconds now takes around one. ORM being useful until you get lazy.

Young Robert and Michael have been busy refactoring and commenting the code. Which is not particularly exciting for either us or our reader. The comments are still not quite finished but are themselves parsed for legibility. And presented here as proof that at least some work was done.

A new procedure this way comes?

Librarians Anya and Jayne met with computational experts Ian, Jianhan, Robert and Michael to plot a course toward our brand new procedure for published drafts under paragraph 14 of Schedule 8 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. Not much has been achieved so far but at least there is a plan. Of sorts.

Jayne and Michael met with Ben from Commons’ clerkly land to chat through progress on the procedural sketch so far. It’s all rather minimalist so you wouldn’t think there’d be awful lot that could go wrong. But we’re still a little unsure on whether such instruments might be withdrawn and, if so, how that might happen.

In the meantime, Librarian Claire did some information retrieval and discovered we appear to have a ping-ponged amendment to thank for this one. Which does cause one to wonder why it’s been a surprise to all concerned.

Option one is always do nothing

Way back in January, the Government laid the Heavy Commercial Vehicles in Kent (No. 3) (Amendment) Order 2021 under the made negative procedure. Which turned out to be a mistake. The Minister having signed into law the wrong instrument. Well, we’ve all had bad days. It has since been declared ‘void’ and - as a made instrument, it spent time on the statute book - this period has been expunged from legal history. Librarian Jayne wondered whether this might be a thing that happens again and if so, should we add ‘voiding’ as a step to our made instrument maps? Mr Greenberg was quite adamant that this is not a thing that should ever happen again, so that card has been confined to the ‘do nothing and it’s done’ column. Thanks Daniel.

Kind hearts / coronets

Librarian Ned joined Robert and Michael to begin converting pixels to Turtle. This being the start of a model for peers and peerages. It currently features neither comments nor HTML, and so we wouldn’t advise clicking.


Anya, Robert and Michael spent an hour on Friday drawing up a sketch of the schema for Oli’s election / candidate database. More conversations to follow.