Parliamentary traditions in the UK: Exploring beliefs, practices and dilemmas to explain change and continuity in the House of Commons

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Abstract / Description of output

What do ‘dilemmas’ reveal about elites’ underlying beliefs, values and attitudes to parliaments and reform? In this article, I answer this question in two ways. First, I identify three parliamentary ‘traditions’ among elites regarding the UK Parliament and reform in British politics (specifically: conservative, liberal and reformist traditions). Second, I explore how these different traditions inform MPs when confronted with dilemmas about Parliament’s role using two illustrative case studies: the vote to leave the European Union and the Covid-19 pandemic. In so doing, this article makes two original contributions: empirically, by establishing that MPs’ actions were informed by one of three traditions, it offers a new explanation for how parliamentary actors respond to challenges; and, theoretically, through the use of the interpretive concept of ‘dilemmas’, the article demonstrates the added value of using interpretive approaches to explaining parliamentary politics and, specifically, opportunities for analysing institutional change and continuity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of Legislative Studies
Early online date25 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Oct 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • British politics
  • parliamentary reform
  • interpretive political science
  • House of Commons
  • Brexit
  • Covid-19

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