"Although foreign affairs and treaty-making is normally the preserve of the Government under the Royal Prerogative, it holds that position by virtue of commanding the confidence of the House of Commons."The Power Inquiry made the following recommendations -
Recommendation 1: A Concordat should be drawn up between Executive and Parliament indicating where key powers lie and providing significant powers of scrutiny and initiation for Parliament.
Not a written constitution, note, nor a radical overhaul of Parliament.
Recommendation 2: Select Committees should be given independence and enhanced powers including the power to scrutinise and veto key government appointments and to subpoena witnesses to appear and testify before them. This should include proper resourcing so that Committees can fulfil their remit effectively. The specialist committees in the Upper House should have the power to co-opt people from outside the legislature who have singular expertise, such as specialist scientists, when considering complex areas of legislation or policy.
Again, these recommendations were written when Brexit was not on the horizon; last year we saw select committees with a Remain chair and and and overwhelming Remain bias seeking to use their powers to sabotage Brexit. If select committees are to have greater powers - and it's not a bad idea - then impartiality becomes absolutely critical. Select committees embody the powers of the British people in a small group of their representatives and already have extraordinary reach - it is absolutely essential that select committee chairmanships and memberships are not abused for Party or Personal interests.
Recommendation 3: Limits should be placed on the power of the whips.
This is inextricably entwined with the role of political parties. The role of whip is not a constitutional office, but a party appointment. If all MPs were independents, there would be no whips.
Recommendation 4: Parliament should have greater powers to initiate legislation, to launch public inquiries and to act on public petitions.
Government sets the business of the House, but there is always room for Private Members' Bills. Likewise, the parliament petitions website came into effect two years after 'Power', in 2006. So far the most popular petition debated was in opposition to the Trump visit, garnering over 1.7m signatures. Again, 'Power' was written at a time when Blair's War was an unhealed wound - the Chilcot Inquiry did not start until 2009. I'm neutral on recommendation 4 and can be swayed either way.
Recommendation 5: 70 per cent of the members of the House of Lords should be elected by a ‘responsive electoral system’ – and not on a closed party list system – for three parliamentary terms. To ensure that this part of the legislature is not comprised of career politicians with no experience outside politics, candidates should be at least 40 years of age.
Brexit again has brought Lords reform to the fore. At the time of 'Power' the upper house was perceived as a Tory stronghold, liable to sabotage the actions of a Labour government. It's now seen as a stronghold of the patrician establishment, pro-remain and determined to frustrate the will of the British people. I agree wholly to the desperate need now to reform the upper house - though I'm not committed to any one solution. I do know, however, that the hereditaries are an undervalued resource - and would like to see any reformed house retain around 100 of their number, selected amongst the hereditary peerage by themselves.