Excursus: the power of the representatives

Matt Qvortrup

in The Politics of Participation

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2007 | ISBN: 9780719076589
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701560 | DOI:
Excursus: the power of the representatives

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This chapter is an excursus on the UK Parliament. It is often argued that politics should be left to (elected) experts and that Parliament is the proper forum for democratic deliberation. The question is, however, whether that is an accurate description of the reality of Parliament. To answer this question, this chapter considers the procedures and powers of the UK Parliament. Britain may have one of the oldest Parliaments in the world, but not one of the strongest. If the health of a democracy is measured by its legislature's ability to hold the executive to account, the so-called mother of all parliaments may have a lot to learn from her daughters. Moreover, the weakness of the UK Parliament and its modest role as a deliberative chamber means that some of the claims regarding the superiority of representative democracy are exaggerated.

Keywords: UK Parliament; democratic deliberation; Britain; representative democracy

Chapter.  5473 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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