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Comparing Westminster$
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R. A. W. Rhodes, John Wanna, and Patrick Weller

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199563494

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199563494.001.0001

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Parliaments and Representation

Parliaments and Representation

(p.187) 7 Parliaments and Representation
Comparing Westminster

R. A. W. Rhodes (Contributor Webpage)

John Wanna (Contributor Webpage)

Patrick Weller (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the dilemmas facing parliaments, especially their relations with the executive, and the changing patterns of representation. It focuses on five topics: the limits to parliamentary sovereignty, scrutiny of the executive; the role of the opposition; changing patterns of representation; and the impact of territorial representation, notably federalism. There is a recurrent dilemma between whether parliament has fallen into decline with the rise of party government or whether it is better seen as a ‘theatre of action’, located in a web of political actors, not just elected representatives. Although parliaments have been shaped by party discipline and had their unqualified sovereignty challenged by rival sources of power, they remain central to responsible and representative government in Westminster.

Keywords:   parliamentary sovereignty, representation, opposition, scrutiny, federalism, theatre of action

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