One of the lesser-known institutions of Westminster is the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG). Here’s a quick overview on some of the key features of an APPG:
An APPG is a group of MPs and Peers who have an interest in the same topic. As the name suggests APPGs welcome members from any party. 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 are more than 750 different APPGs.
An MP or Peer may choose to be part of several APPGs or no APPGs. Only MPs and Peers can be members of an APPG although people who aren’t an MP or Peer often attend APPG meetings.
Smaller APPGs will typically be run by an MP who acts as an officer but the larger APPGs are usually run by an outside organisation, charity, think-tank, union etc. with a special interest in the subject matter 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 that we support is a forum between MPs, Peers, academics and campaign groups who share evidence and support for proportional representation and wider democratic reform.
APPG’s do not have a legislative function but perform an important function of democracy. For example they can make useful recommendations to the government off the back of empirical research. The APPG on Coronavirus recommended that the government spent an extra £50 million on its ‘Living with Covid’ plan after the APPG had finished a report on Long Covid.
In summary APPG’s provide a crucial framework for MPs, Peers and interested parties to discuss a whole range of important issues that really matter.
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