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Leanne-Marie McCarthy-Cotter, Matthew Flinders, and Tom Healey

This chapter discusses the role that design and space play in the UK Parliament. The architecture and design of parliamentary buildings and chambers occupy a central place in political culture. In the case of the Palace of Westminster, three elements must be highlighted: the external projection of the building, the internal structure and the manner in which it defines and dictates the use of space, and the manner in which the internal structures affect user-interactions in more subtle ways (for example, inspiring deference, augmenting partisanship, or perpetuating and preventing forms of democratic inequality). After explaining ‘how’ and ‘why’ design and space matter, the chapter traces the history of design and space in the Palace of Westminster as well as its building and rebuilding. It also considers attempts to change the design and architecture of Parliament and the difficulties of assessing design and space.


This chapter discusses the administrative organization and governance of the UK Parliament — that is, the way in which the two Houses of Parliament are directed, managed, and led. More specifically, it deals with the administration or governance of services to Members of Parliament (MPs), and how that is organized. The discussion begins with an overview of the peculiar nature of Parliament as a public institution, highlighting five features which make governance and reform of governance difficult. The chapter then considers the basic structure of governance in the House of Commons and in the House of Lords, taking into account the statutory House of Commons Commission and the non-statutory House of Lords Commission, before describing contemporary developments in both Houses. It also looks at two future developments that may affect parliamentary governance and administration: the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster, and the issue of shared parliamentary services.