Essay on How effective are backbench MPs?

633 WordsJul 16, 20143 Pages
‘How effective are backbench MPs?’ 40 marks Backbench MPs are critical for UK democracy. They allow for high standard scrutiny of the government which holds them accountable for their actions to the people. They help in representing the electorate. However there are some circumstances in which backbench MPs have little control, for example an elective dictatorship or because of the UK party system which is enforced by party whips. Firstly back bench MPs are a good way of promoting presentation in terms of their constituency boundary as they have been voted in by their electorate and so therefore should have a sound understanding of what the people need and want. However the majority of MPs are white males between…show more content…
This was the case for Labour in 1997 when they won a landslide majority of 418 seats in the House of Commons. Another reason why backbenchers are effective is through their use of debates, as it allows them to express their opinion and show their constituency, as well as their party where they stand on certain issues, like the EU, for example. However there are limits to their effectiveness. Debates have to be requested, and the chances are that the current government will only pick topics that they feel comfortable discussing or ones that won’t embarrass them too much. This means that controversial issues everyone would want to know about may not be discussed, for example the Iraq war. Backbench MPs also have a lot less media coverage than high profile, frontbenchers. This allows the frontbenchers to make their views more known and make them a more of a familiar face during current issues. An example of this would be having frontbenchers on the BBC question time every Thursday. However backbenchers are still members of parliament, and because parliament is sovereign and the supreme law making authority, they are less pressured to ‘tow the party line’ and therefore can stand more for their constituencies than the party they represent. To conclude, although MPs have a lot of constraints on their power and what
Open Document