Prime Minister’s Questions: Perpetual Pointless Puerile Panto Politics?

Prime Minister’s Questions: Perpetual Pointless Puerile Panto Politics?

By Mark Shephard

Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) attracts a high level of interest because it is the one procedure where the Prime Minister is expected to face questioning in the House of Commons by parliamentarians each week that parliament is sitting. However, it is often derided as an ineffective procedure. For example, in a 2015 radio interview Nick Clegg called it a ‘farce’ that should be ‘scrapped’ and research by the Hansard Society has revealed that large proportions of the public do not like the pantomime point-scoring of PMQs which is perceived to undermine the capacity for effective scrutiny and influence of the government. Even the current PM and the current leader of the largest opposition party don’t like the way it operates. When David Cameron became leader of the Conservative Party in 2005 he called for an end to point-scoring ‘Punch and Judy’ politics. When Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party in 2015 he also wanted less theatre and called for more fact during the procedure.

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Newspapers care more about who our MEPs are than about what they do in the European Parliament

Newspapers care more about who our MEPs are than about what they do in the European Parliament

Please note that this blog piece was originally published on the PSA Blog on 03 March, and is available here.

By Katjana Gattermann and Sofia Vasilopoulou

We find out a lot of information about our Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) through the media. A quick google of ‘MEP’ this week will highlight UKIP MEP Diane James’ decision to stand down at the election, her colleague David Coburn’s disastrous appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions and Labour MEP Paul Brannen’s work as part of the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Development Committee. News media therefore play a central role in informing the general public about what happens in the European Parliament (EP), which is ultimately key to the representation, legitimacy and accountability of the EU. But to what extent do the media actually report about MEPs? And why do some MEPs receive more media attention than others? Continue reading

In Defence of Prime Minister’s Questions

Please note that this blog piece was originally published on the Crick Centre blog on 21 January 2015, and is available here.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg’s suggested this week that prime minister’s questions should be abolished. Today we follow up our blogs on BBC Democracy Day by responding to Clegg’s comments. Marc Geddes, Associate Fellow of the Crick Centre disagrees with Clegg, arguing that he misunderstands how the drama of PMQs helps the public understand how politics works. Continue reading

Monday Night’s Debate on the European Arrest Warrant will have damaged public perceptions of Parliament

Monday Night’s Debate on the European Arrest Warrant will have damaged public perceptions of Parliament

A version of this piece was published on The Conversation on 11 November 2014.

By Louise Thompson

It’s not often that parliamentary procedure hits the headlines. And it’s even less often that delegated legislation does. So the debate (if you can call it that) in the House of Commons about whether the UK would opt in to various parts of European legislation was a rarity indeed.Those watching the House of Commons on Monday evening were treated to a truly confusing spectacle that may have left many disheartened with Parliament – and with democracy. Continue reading