Policy Representation by Party Leaders and Followers in UK Prime Minister’s Questions
University of Mannheim - Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES)
University College London
April 11, 2012
This paper shows how party leaders and backbenchers use their access to the institution of UK Prime Minister’s Questions to represent different policy issues. Prime Minister’s Questions is intended to be a place for the opposition’s voice to be heard as the first set of questions are reserved for its leaders; but, in addition, all backbenchers may pose questions. Graphical and statistical analyses demonstrate how the content of questions from 1997 to 2008 varies by party and according to the degree of control by the Speaker over the questions asked. The findings demonstrate how Prime Minister’s Questions helps elected representatives draw attention to issues that the government does not always wish to attend to, not just for the opposition parties but for all Members of Parliament, including members of the government’s own party. Prime Minister’s Questions has a dual representation function as it conveys the policy issues of both party leaders and followers.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 40
Keywords: policy agenda, parliament, parliamentary question, media, public opinionworking papers series
Date posted: April 14, 2012
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