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Exploring Parliament

Exploring Parliament (1st edn)

Cristina Leston-Bandeira and Louise Thompson
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date: 20 July 2024

p. 14314. Accountability in Parliamentlocked

p. 14314. Accountability in Parliamentlocked

  • Mark Bennister
  •  and Phil Larkin


This chapter focuses on the accountability of the government to Parliament. One way to conceptualize the place of the UK Parliament in the accountability process is as part of a ‘chain of delegation’, whereby democratic authority lies in the hands of the citizens. Due to lack of time and expertise to participate actively in the day-to-day process of running the country, however, these citizens delegate much of this responsibility to a subset of their number who become parliamentarians. Parliamentarians in turn delegate much of this role to a further subset of their number who become the government. The chapter first considers accountability in the Westminster model before discussing recent reforms of accountability mechanisms and how they have increased Parliament's capacity to scrutinize government. Examples of the strengthening of the accountability function include stronger select committees, the use of urgent questions, and Liaison Committee sessions with the prime minister.

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