One of Westminster’s lesser-known institutions is the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG). Here is a quick overview of some of the main features of an APPG:
An APPG is a group of MPs and peers who are interested in the same subject. As the name suggests, APPGs welcome members of any party. The topics of an APPG can range from issues impacting civil society to niche political interests.
For example, there is an APPG for electoral reform and there is also one for Zoos and aquariums. There is also an APPG for every country in the world, including many territories such as the Falkland Islands. Overall there is more than 750 different APPGs.
A Member of Parliament or Peer may choose to be part of several APPGs or none. Only MPs and Peers can be members of an APPG, although people who are not MPs or Peers often attend APPG meetings.
Small APPGs will usually be led by an MP who acts as an officer, but larger APPGs are usually led by an outside organization, charity, think tank, union, etc. with a particular interest in the subject of the APPG.
The purpose of an APPG is to raise awareness of the relevant issue, to provide a forum between MPs, peers and external stakeholders. For example, the APPG for Electoral Reform is a forum among MPs, peers, academics and campaign groups who share evidence and support proportional representation and broader democratic reform.
The APPGs do not have a legislative function but fulfill an important democratic function. For example, they can make useful recommendations to the government based on empirical research. The APPG on coronavirus recommended that the government spend an extra £50m on its ‘Living with Covid’ plan after the APPG completed a report on Long Covid.
In summary, the APPGs provide a crucial framework for MPs, peers and interested parties to discuss a range of important issues that really matter.
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