Parliamentary Power and the Legislative Process
This chapter summarizes the book’s findings, and provides a substantive analysis of the way policy influence operates at Westminster. It concludes that parliament has significant power that takes several distinct forms. The chapter summarizes the changes made to the 12 case study bills, and draws on interview evidence from insiders about parliament’s overall influence in the process. It identifies six ‘faces’ of parliamentary power over legislation—including visible change through amendments, but also ‘anticipated reactions’, more subtle internalization by government of parliament’s desires, setting the policy agenda (‘issue politicization’), exposure and accountability, and, finally, supporting the government. The chapter explores how these different forms of influence are exercised by different actors at Westminster—particularly including the opposition and government backbenchers. It concludes that Westminster can, despite common perceptions, be viewed as a ‘legislator’ in an important sense, and discusses why there may be a mismatch between common perceptions and reality.
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