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Ministers and ParliamentAccountability in Theory and Practice$
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Diana Woodhouse

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198278924

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198278924.001.0001

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The Accountability of Ministers to Parliament

The Accountability of Ministers to Parliament

Chapter:
(p.3) 1 The Accountability of Ministers to Parliament
Source:
Ministers and Parliament
Author(s):

DIANA WOODHOUSE

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198278924.003.0001

A fundamental principle of the British Constitution is that the government is accountable through its ministers to Parliament. The constitutional requirement and the political need for accountability is under pressure, but there is also the expectation of routine accountability by ministers for the actions of their departments. Such accountability is central to the concept of responsible government, and may be regarded as essential in a system with a dominant executive and without the legal checks provided by a constitutional court. There are of course broader perspectives of accountability and different means by which it may be achieved. However, despite its significance with the constitution, there is an elusiveness about the concept of accountability which is reflected in the conventions which provide for it, and which makes it difficult to define and perhaps impossible to refine.

Keywords:   ministers, Parliament, ministers, accountability, constitution, executive, responsibility, conventions

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