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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 Content of the Convention

The Content of the Convention

(p.27) 2 The Content of the Convention
Ministers and Parliament


Oxford University Press

The description of individual ministerial responsibility as a single convention is convenient, but perhaps misleading. More appropriate is an understanding of individual ministerial responsibility as a group of conventions which gives effect to the constitutional requirement that ministers alone are responsible to Parliament for their departments. The constitutional position of ministers has provoked considerable debate, particularly concerning the meaning of responsibility, a meaning that has become more complex as ministers have acquired responsibilities outside their departments and those within departments have become more diverse. Responsibility does not, however, stand alone but in direct relation to control. Where the minister has no control or any supervisory authority, no accountability is expected of him as well as the other requirements related to expectations.

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

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