How Guardian developers used web scraping to investigate the secretive parliamentary procedure
Is the royal family always impartial when it comes to the formation of UK law, or could they be influencing legislation in matters that affect their interests? For months Guardian journalists David Pegg and Rob Evans submerged themselves in the National Archives, sourcing information on the archaic convention known as Queen’s consent.
Previously seen as a formality, Queen’s consent occurs when parliament asks for permission to debate bills that could affect the interests of the crown. This consent is recorded in Hansard with phrases such as “Queen’s consent signified”. Through painstaking work, David and Rob had compiled a list of parliamentary records that contained that term. Their question to us developers was: how could we use digital means to find out if their list was complete?
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