McKay Commission


  • Chair: Sir William McKay KCB, former Clerk of the House of Commons
  • Professor Yvonne Galligan, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Professor Charlie Jeffery, Edinburgh University
  • Sir Emyr Jones Parry GCMG, President of Aberystwyth University
  • Sir Stephen Laws KCB QC, former First Parliamentary Counsel
  • Sir Geoffrey Bowman KCB QC, former First Parliamentary Counsel (served as a Commissioner until 20 June 2012).

Further biographical details are given below:

Sir William McKay KCB (Chairman)
Sir William entered the service of the House of Commons in 1961 and was Clerk of the House from 1998 to 2002. Since retirement, he has served on a large number of bodies that consider complex legal and constitutional matters, including the Legal Questions Committee of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and as an observer on the Law Society of Scotland’s ruling Council.

Professor Yvonne Galligan
Professor Galligan is the Director of Research on Governance and Public Policy at Queen’s University, Belfast. She is also the Director of the University’s Gender Initiative and of the Centre for the Advancement of Women in Politics. Professor Galligan has written extensively on questions of political and parliamentary representation.

Professor Charlie Jeffery
Professor Jeffery has held a Chair in Politics at the University of Edinburgh since October 2004 and is currently Head of School of Social and Political Science and Vice Principal for Public Policy at the University. He directed the Economic and Social Research Council’s research programme on Devolution and Constitutional Change from 2000-7. He was a member of Council of the Economic and Social Research Council from 2005-11. He has been advisor to the House of Commons Select Committee on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Committee on Standards in Public Life, the EU Committee of the Regions, the Commission on Scottish Devolution and the Scotland Bill Committee of the Scottish Parliament. He is a member of the Politics and International Studies sub-panel for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework and chairs the Political Studies Association of the UK.

Sir Emyr Jones Parry GCMG
Sir Emyr is the President of Aberystwyth University. He is the former British Permanent Representative to the United Nations and former UK permanent representative on the North Atlantic Council (NATO). From 2007-2009 he chaired the All Wales Convention.

Sir Stephen Laws KCB QC
Sir Stephen Laws was called to the Bar in 1973. He joined the Civil Service in 1975 and transferred to the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel in 1976. Sir Stephen was First Parliamentary Counsel from 2006 to January 2012. Sir Stephen’s career in the Civil Service has involved being an adviser to different governments on Parliamentary and constitutional matters, as well as responsibility for the drafting and procedural handling of government Bills at Westminster.

Sir Geoffrey Bowman KCB QC (until 20 June 2012)
Sir Geoffrey Bowman was called to the bar in 1968 by Lincoln’s Inn, of which he is now a bencher. From 1971 to 2006 he was a member of the Parliamentary Counsel Office, which is responsible for drafting government Bills and facilitating their passage through the Westminster Parliament. He was First Parliamentary Counsel (head of the Office) from 2002 to 2006. He has considerable experience of legislative drafting, Parliamentary procedure and constitutional matters generally.