Exploring Parliamentary constituencies

The House of Commons Library, in collaboration with Durham University, is pleased to announce Constituency Explorer: a new online data visualisation tool that allows statistical comparisons at a Parliamentary constituency, regional and national level.

  • Which constituency has the most people going to work by bicycle?
  • Which constituency in London has the most graduates? Which the fewest?
  • Which constituency has the highest rate of divorce?

(Mouse over to reveal answer)

Constituency Explorer uses official statistics from the Census and other sources to examine over 150 variables, including population, travel to work, qualifications, health, and much more. Users are free to explore the data for themselves, taking advantage of the site’s intuitive tabulation tools to analyse a chosen constituency relative to others in the nation, by region or by party of the MP after the last General Election.

Try it for yourself:

Constituency explorer print screen


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The new world of devolution to Manchester

The Government has published two documents, in November 2014 and February 2015, proposing ‘devolution to Greater Manchester’. The November document proposes to devolve some additional transport powers, a housing capital budget, and various business support and skills-related budgets, a statutory spatial strategy, with a promise of closer working on the Work Programme and further education reform. The February document proposes to devolve strategic responsibility for commissioning of NHS and social care services. The 2015 Budget proposes to allow Greater Manchester to retain 100% of business rate growth, if certain targets are met.

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Why are people economically inactive?

The latest Labour Market Statistics released today show that unemployment in the UK is falling and the employment level and rate is now the highest it has been since comparable records began in 1971.

However, another good indicator of the performance of the Labour Market is the level of economic inactivity. Economically inactive people are those without a job who are not seeking work and/or are not available to start work in the next two weeks. The main economically inactive groups are students, people looking after family and home, long term sick and disabled, temporarily sick and disabled, retired people and discouraged workers.

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Celebrating National Libraries Day

The annual National Libraries Day takes place on Saturday 7th February, encouraging people to use, love and join their local library.

Members of Parliament do not need to join the House of Commons Library; it is there for them, providing all the services of any modern library, and much more in the way of support, briefing and analysis. We held an event in the Reference Room of the Members’ Library on Monday 2 February where Members had the chance to take a #shelfie, speak to Library staff, and show their support for libraries generally. This is the third year we have organised an evening event to mark National Libraries Day but the first time we have used the Members’ Library rooms to host it.

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Smoking: standardised packaging and smoking rates in England

The Government announced on 21 January 2015 that they will bring forward legislation on standardised packaging on tobacco products.  The intention, subject to the agreement of Parliament, is that the Regulations be made before Parliament dissolves for the election. This follows a 2012 public consultation, an independent public health review and a further consultation on draft regulations.  The regulation-making powers also require that consent is sought from Ministers in the Devolved Administrations for regulations to extend across the UK.

The proposed regulations would introduce new requirements for the retail packaging of cigarettes and loose tobacco.  Packets would be a prescribed shape and would be a drab brown colour.  Names of brands would be in a fixed typeface and with a maximum font size.


A general guide to how a standardised packet may look; may not be comprehensive or final.
Consultation on introduction of regulations

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Evidence under oath, perjury and parliamentary privilege

The issue of select committee powers has received renewed interest during the 2010-15 Parliament, culminating in a report from Liaison Committee on Select committee effectiveness, resources and powers (in October 2012); and, subsequently, a report by the Joint Committee on Parliamentary Privilege in July 2013 (and a Government response later that year).

Although parliamentary select committees are frequently described as being powerful and influential, questions have arisen about their ability both to summon witnesses and punish those who are guilty of contempt or perjury. Continue reading