This wide-ranging study, by one of the UK's leading scholars of British politics, presents a fascinating picture of the role of the MP during the last 150 years. The author examines the various roles of Members of Parliament since the middle of last century. Backbench MPs have three major roles-a partisan role, a constituency role, and a scrutiny role. They increasingly expect and are expected to support their parties; to help constituents with individual problems and look after their collective interests; and they are expected to keep a check on the government and its policies. These roles existed 150 years ago, but the balance between them has changed. The partisan role now dominates at Westminster, the constituency role has expanded beyond all recognition, and the scrutiny role is widely seen as the poor relation. Moreover, while constituency work has been virtually hived-off as a non-partisan role, the conflict between the partisan and the scrutiny role creates a dilemma at the heart of parliamentary government.
Here is, without doubt, an erudite history of the period from 1868 when the Party system as we know it began ... the evolution of procedures is well explained * Contemporary Review * A fascinating and welcome study. Its strength lies in part in its historical texture, Rush making good use of material on the history of parliament and of biographical and memoir sources * Political Studies *
1. Parliamentary Government
2. The Political Context
3. The Adaptation of Parliament
4. The Socio-Economic Transformation of the House of Commons
5. The Professionalisation of the Member of Parliament
6. Parliamentary Participation: Continuity and Change I
7. The Role of the Member and Parliament: Continuity and Change II
8. From Gentlemen to Players: Complementary, Separate or Conflicting Roles?