Dramas at Westminster: Select Committees and the Quest for Accountability

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Based on unprecedented access to the UK Parliament, this book challenges how we understand and think about accountability between government and Parliament.

Drawing on three months of research in Westminster, and over forty-five interviews, this book focuses on the everyday practices of Members of Parliament and officials to reveal how parliamentarians perform their scrutiny roles. Some MPs become specialists while others act as lone wolves; some are there to try to defend their party while others want to learn about policy. Amongst these different styles, chairs of committees have to try to reconcile these interpretations and either act as committee-orientated catalysts or attempt to impose order as leadership-orientated chieftains. All of this pushes and pulls scrutiny in competing directions, and tells us that accountability depends on individual beliefs, everyday practices and the negotiation of dilemmas. In this way, MPs and officials create a drama or spectacle of accountability and use their performance on the parliamentary stage to hold government to account.

Dramas at Westminster: Select committees and the quest for accountability offers the most up-to-date and detailed research on committee practices in the House of Commons, following a range of reforms since 2010.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationManchester
PublisherManchester University Press
Number of pages192
ISBN (Electronic)9781526136824
ISBN (Print)9781526136800
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

Publication series

NamePolitical Ethnography
PublisherManchester University Press


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