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.
14. Accountability in Parliament
Mark Bennister and Phil Larkin
3. The Administrative Organization and Governance of Parliament
Sarah Petit and Ben Yong
This chapter discusses the administrative organization and governance of the UK Parliament — that is, the way in which the two Houses of Parliament are directed, managed, and led. More specifically, it deals with the administration or governance of services to Members of Parliament (MPs), and how that is organized. The discussion begins with an overview of the peculiar nature of Parliament as a public institution, highlighting five features which make governance and reform of governance difficult. The chapter then considers the basic structure of governance in the House of Commons and in the House of Lords, taking into account the statutory House of Commons Commission and the non-statutory House of Lords Commission, before describing contemporary developments in both Houses. It also looks at two future developments that may affect parliamentary governance and administration: the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster, and the issue of shared parliamentary services.
10. Bulgaria’s Slow Europeanization
The chapter analyses the Bulgarian experience of Europeanization: its achievements, weaknesses, and patterns of convergence with EU norms and rules. The chapter is structured in four parts. First, it offers a brief historical overview of Bulgarian accession to the EU. Secondly, the impact of EU membership on public opinion and political parties is evaluated. The third part presents the impact of EU membership on Bulgarian political institutions and governance. Finally, a brief comparison is offered with the Romanian experience of Europeanization. The underlying argument is that the process of Europeanization has been a slow one.
11. Campaigning to Change Law and Policy
Paul E. J. Thomas and Stacey Frier
This chapter considers the ways in which backbench Members of Parliament (MPs) and peers campaign to change laws and government policies. Policy and legislative campaigning is often conducted by groups of MPs and peers who work together across party lines. Such groupings are commonly supported by external pressure groups, who help to keep the parliamentarians informed on the issue, and who can also provide resources to support campaigning activities. MPs and peers also coordinate their parliamentary activities with lobbying by their pressure group partners. The chapter first examines traditional assumptions about influencing government before turning to actors involved in campaigning to change law and policy. It also describes the formal parliamentary tools as well as informal means employed by backbenchers who campaign for policy or legislative change, along with contemporary developments regarding such activity.
9. Committee Scrutiny of Legislation
Louise Thompson and Tony McNulty
This chapter deals with committee scrutiny of legislation, focusing on common perceptions of the committee stage and its role in bringing about changes to government legislation. In the UK Parliament, legislation which follows the normal passage of a bill will at some point have a committee stage, where Members of Parliament (MPs) or peers can review the text of the bill in detail. It is common for bills to receive their committee stage in public bill committees. The chapter first considers how the committee stage is planned before discussing the legislative, procedural, and political contexts in which bill committees work. It then examines traditional assumptions about committee scrutiny of bills, along with contemporary developments in parliamentary scrutiny of legislation. In particular, it looks at the benefits of evidence-taking, ministerial behaviour in committees, the impact of committees in the latter stages of the legislative process, and the wider function of the committee stage.
Simon Bulmer and Christian Lequesne
This chapter focuses on the current state of the EU and the prospects for Europeanization. Resistance to Europeanization exists, yet the EU still exercises continued attraction to states on its periphery that are waiting for the opportunity of EU membership. In reviewing the academic debate on forms of resistance to Europeanization we first explore the literature on EU disintegration, before turning to concrete examples of member state resistance. Prompted by Brexit, as a concrete manifestation of such resistance, we then assess the difficulty for a member state to leave the EU and its sphere of influence completely. Finally, we turn to the state of play with enlargement, also highlighting the impact of Europeanization upon European states outside the EU.
32. Conclusion: The Future of Parliamentary Politics
David Judge, Cristina Leston-Bandeira, and Louise Thompson
This concluding chapter reflects on the future of parliamentary politics by identifying key puzzles implicit in previous discussions which raise fundamental questions about what Parliament is and why it exists. The goal is to determine the ‘predictable unknowns’ as starting points for exploring the future. Three principal puzzles that need ‘hard thinking’ in order to understand legislatures are considered: representation, collective decision-making, and their role in the political system. The chapter also examines the difficulties in reconciling ideas about popular sovereignty and direct public participation with notions of parliamentary sovereignty and indirect public participation in decision-making; the implications of the legislative task of disentangling UK law from EU law in the wake of Brexit for Parliament's recent strengthened scrutiny capacity; and how Parliament has integrated the core principles of representation, consent, and authorization into the legitimation of state policy-making processes and their outputs.
12. Contrasting States of Europeanization?
Simon Bulmer and Christian Lequesne
This chapter examines recurrent themes in the experiences of the countries discussed earlier in terms of European Union membership. It first considers the contribution of Europeanization as an analytical tool for understanding EU member state relations on a country-by-country basis before discussing emergent themes and issues. In particular, it assesses the significance of timing of accession for the member states’ Europeanization experience, showing how timing has often interacted with a geographical focus to each enlargement wave. It also asks whether the Europeanization experience is different for large states rather than small states, or whether the embeddedness of member states’ political systems plays a role. The chapter concludes by identifying different impacts of Europeanization along the dimensions of politics, polity, and policy, including the politicization of the 2010s.
6. Design and Space in Parliament
Leanne-Marie McCarthy-Cotter, Matthew Flinders, and Tom Healey
This chapter discusses the role that design and space play in the UK Parliament. The architecture and design of parliamentary buildings and chambers occupy a central place in political culture. In the case of the Palace of Westminster, three elements must be highlighted: the external projection of the building, the internal structure and the manner in which it defines and dictates the use of space, and the manner in which the internal structures affect user-interactions in more subtle ways (for example, inspiring deference, augmenting partisanship, or perpetuating and preventing forms of democratic inequality). After explaining ‘how’ and ‘why’ design and space matter, the chapter traces the history of design and space in the Palace of Westminster as well as its building and rebuilding. It also considers attempts to change the design and architecture of Parliament and the difficulties of assessing design and space.
10. EU Legislation
Ed Beale, Libby Kurien, and Eve Samson
This chapter examines the ways in which the UK Parliament formally constrains the government and engages with European Union (EU) institutions. The House of Lords and the House of Commons both have processes to ensure that legislation proposed at the EU level has been properly reviewed before it takes effect in UK law. The ‘scrutiny reserve’, which stipulates that ministers should not agree to proposals under scrutiny, is used to elicit information about the government's negotiating position. Parliament also has a role in examining EU legislation and providing direct access to European institutions. The chapter first provides an overview of the EU legislative process, focusing on three principal EU institutions: member states, the European Parliament (EP), and the European Commission. It also considers the formal role of national parliaments in the EU legislative process, the UK Parliament's scrutiny of the EU legislation and its effectiveness, and parliamentary scrutiny after Brexit.
1. The European Union and its Member States: An Overview
Simon Bulmer and Christian Lequesne
This chapter provides an overview of the European Union and its member states. It first explains why the member states matter in the EU before discussing the role of member states in the EU, with particular emphasis on three approaches to understanding member state–EU relations: intergovernmentalism, institutionalism, and governance approaches. It then examines the Europeanization of the member states as well as the revival of domestic politics approaches, which claim that it is impossible to understand the EU in light of its politicization during the 2010s. It concludes by presenting the logic and structure of this volume: how the relationship between the EU and its member states will be portrayed in the chapters that follow.
13. Europeanization and Member State Institutions
Hussein Kassim and Vanessa Buth
This chapter examines the impact of Europeanization on member state institutions. Membership in the European Union imposes a variety of constraints and burdens on countries, but it also affords important opportunities and makes available significant resources. Integration initially reinforced the decline of national legislatures, but they have fought back in the last decade. National courts have assumed new functions and become part of a wider Community of law. At the same, the precise effects of the EU have varied cross-nationally as the demands of membership have interacted with differing constitutional arrangements, legal traditions, and political cultures. Moreover, national institutions such as governments, parliaments, and courts have left their mark on the EU and determine to a large extent the capacities of the Union as a system. The chapter considers how EU membership has affected national governments, national parliaments, and national courts.
17. Europeanization and Sub-National Authorities (SNAs)
This chapter examines the impact of Europeanization upon the sub-national authorities (SNAs) of European Union member states. The Europeanization of SNAs can be broken down to the effect of EU membership on the policies, politics, and polity of SNAs. With respect to policies, the scarce literature available suggests that SNAs implement EU legislation in diverse ways according to the varying national contexts. The politics dimension discusses the impact on EU policy coordination mechanisms, domestic horizontal and vertical relations, and actors’ preferences and strategies. The chapter first provides a background on SNAs in the EU before discussing the Europeanization of SNA policies, politics, and polities. It also considers the Europeanization of Central and Eastern European Countries and concludes with some remarks regarding the analytical approaches and the variables used in the research on the Europeanization of SNAs.
15. The Europeanization of Interest Groups and Social Movements
This chapter examines the dynamics of Europeanization of interest groups and social movements in European Union member states. European integration has influenced interest groups and social movements since the beginning of the process in the 1950s. However, transformation has been induced by other elements such as globalization or the transformation of the state. Drawing on findings from empirical studies, this chapter analyses the change in interests, strategies, and internal organizational structures of interest groups and social movements, both in the ‘old’ and ‘new’ member states. It shows that the Europeanization of interest groups and social movements is highly differentiated, according to public policy areas, group types, and national origins. It concludes in analysing more recent developments such as interest group and social movement reactions to austerity politics as well as Brexit.
16. The Europeanization of Member State Policy
Claudio M. Radaelli
How are the policies of the member states affected by their membership of the European Union? What are the concepts and explanations in this field? Can Europeanization be reversed? This chapter examines the effects of the the public policy functions of European Union on domestic policy. It introduces the relevant concepts, and then illustrates types and modes of Europeanization. On balance, we find that the Europeanization processes have not created homogeneity or policy convergence. Rather, the Europeanization effect is differential: it differs by policy area and political system. And there are good theoretical reasons for this, grounded in the causal theories addressing the question how the EU affects domestic policy via adaptational pressure and/or domestic agency. Finally, the chapter explores a question raised by the decision of the UK to leave the EU and in diverse ways by the attempts to de-regulate or reverse the overall domestic burden of EU regulations. These categories of decisions, initiatives, and policies can be called de-Europeanization or Europeanization in reverse gear. We therefore appraise the prospect for significant de-Europeanization. The pressures for de-Europeanization are strong, but the EU regulatory regime is certainly resilient. For sure we have not seen a bonfire of EU regulations, although Europeanization effects can be reduced by withdrawing proposals or by reducing the stringency of implementation requirements.
18. The Europeanization of National Economies?
Vivien A. Schmidt
This chapter examines the impact of Europeanization upon the national economies of European Union member states. It considers how successful the EU has been in promoting its goal of building a single European economy out of the diverse national economies of its member states; how much convergence has occurred among EU member states, and how much divergence remains; and what impact the economic crisis beginning in 2008 has had on the EU and its member states. To answer these questions, the chapter traces the development of Europe’s national economies from the post-war period until today. It also analyses the impact of globalization and Europeanization on post-war varieties of capitalism before concluding with reflections on future patterns of political economic development in the EU in light of the economic crisis.
14. Europeanization, Euroscepticism, and Politicization in Party Politics
The development of European integration has meant that member states have experienced Europeanization and as a consequence the EU has become a more politicized issue in domestic politics. Politicization has come over time and as a consequence of the decline of a permissive consensus and takes some very different forms. The chapter considers the place of the domestic politicization of European integration in theories of European integration and then reviews different periods of the history of European integration, highlighting the growing phenomena of Europeanization and politicization. The chapter then looks at Euroscepticism and its meaning and different forms and identifying which parties can currently be identified as Eurosceptic and what issues Euroscepticism blends with in different member states. The chapter then offers a typology for understanding the different ways in which the politicization of European integration plays out in the party systems of member states.
3. Europeanization: Concept, Theory, and Methods
Theofanis Exadaktylos, Paolo R. Graziano, and Maarten P. Vink
This chapter explores a number of fundamental issues that arise when studying Europeanization. It first explains what Europeanization is and what it is not, why some parts of political life seem more affected by the process of European integration than others, and how to interpret variation between member states of the European Union. It then considers the theoretical debates about the relevance of Europeanization, focusing on new institutionalism, goodness of fit, mediating factors, and domestic compliance. It also provides examples of Europeanization studies. It reviews main trends in Europeanization research on policy domains, politics, and polity. Finally, the chapter considers research design issues in Europeanization studies.
15. Evidence from Outside
Andrew Defty and Hannah White
This chapter considers the UK Parliament's use of external evidence in the scrutiny of policy and legislation. Throughout the nineteenth and most of the twentieth century, Members of Parliament (MPs) drew on their professional experience outside of Parliament to provide informed scrutiny of government policy and legislation. Since the latter part of the twentieth century, however, there has been a significant increase in opportunities for Parliament to draw on external evidence. Today, external evidence occupies a central place in Parliament's scrutiny and legislative functions. The chapter first examines how select committees scrutinize policy and administration, making a distinction between written evidence and oral evidence, before discussing the impact of evidence-taking on the legislative process for draft bills that are subject to scrutiny by public bill committees. It also describes formal mechanisms by which evidence and expertise are drawn into Parliament.
Cristina Leston-Bandeira and Louise Thompson
Exploring Parliament offers a fresh perspective on an ancient institution. It provides a real-life insight into the inner workings, impact, and relevance of twenty-first century Parliament. Short academic and practitioner chapters are combined with relevant and practical case studies, to provide an introduction to Parliament's structures, people, and practices. As well as covering the broader structure of UK Parliament, this text explains the role of small parties in law-making, the design and space of Parliament, and offers illuminating case studies on highly topical areas such as the Backbench Business Committee, the Hillsborough Inquiry and recent pieces of legislation such as the Assisted Dying Bill.