Legislation at Westminster: Parliamentary Actors and Influence in the Making of British Law (Hardback)
  • Legislation at Westminster: Parliamentary Actors and Influence in the Making of British Law (Hardback)
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Legislation at Westminster: Parliamentary Actors and Influence in the Making of British Law (Hardback)

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£53.00
Hardback 338 Pages / Published: 31/08/2017
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The Westminster parliament is a highly visible political institution, and one of its core functions is approving new laws. Yet Britain's legislative process is often seen as executive-dominated, and parliament as relatively weak. As this book shows, such impressions can be misleading. Drawing on the largest study of its kind for more than forty years, Meg Russell and Daniel Gover cast new light on the political dynamics that shape the legislative process. They provide a fascinating account of the passage of twelve government bills - collectively attracting more than 4000 proposed amendments - through both the House of Commons and House of Lords. These include highly contested changes such as Labour's identity cards scheme and the coalition's welfare reforms, alongside other relatively uncontroversial measures. As well as studying the parliamentary record and amendments, the authors draw from more than 100 interviews with legislative insiders. Following introductory chapters about the Westminster legislative process, the book focuses on the contribution of distinct parliamentary 'actors', including the government, opposition, backbenchers, select committees, and pressure groups. It considers their behaviour in the legislative process, what they seek to achieve, and crucially how they influence policy decisions. The final chapter reflects on Westminster's influence overall, showing this to be far greater than commonly assumed. Parliamentary influence is asserted in various different ways - ranging from visible amendments to more subtle means of changing government's behaviour. The book's findings make an important contribution to understanding both British politics and the dynamics of legislative bodies more broadly. Its readability and relevance will appeal to both specialists and general readers with interests in politics and law, in the UK and beyond.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198753827
Number of pages: 338
Weight: 666 g
Dimensions: 241 x 167 x 26 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
There are many, including inhabitants of the Palace of Westminster, that are prepared to offer their opinions on Parliament's shortcomings. There are few that are prepared, or capable, of conducting the detailed work which Russell and Gover have put in to produce this important book. The publication of Legislation at Westminster is a major landmark in the public debate on Parliament's effectiveness. * Jack Simson Caird, Public Law *
An important new academic study looking at exactly what influence parliamentarians and other players exercise when legislation is getting passed. * Andrew Sparrow, Guardian, Politics Live *
The research that has gone into this book is meticulous and extensive. It is also worn refreshingly lightly. Russell and Gover avoid what must have been a huge temptation to blow loud trumpets about how painstaking some of the research actually was... This remarkable book is a must-read for anyone wanting to know how laws are put together or how parliament really works. Especially those of us who thought we knew already. * Edward C Page, LSE Review of Books *
Lots of people have views about how Westminster works-or doesn't. But few bother to put in the necessary work to research the place properly. Two outstanding exceptions to that rule are Meg Russell and Daniel Gover. This book is a model example of how to study parliament. * Professor Philip Cowley, Queen Mary University of London *
Russell and Gover provide a nuanced and comprehensive examination of the influence of Westminster on policy-making in the UK, challenging the common interpretation of the UK Parliament as 'rubber stamp' or 'talking shop.' Though focused on the UK case, Legislation at Westminster provides useful insights into the myriad tools that parliaments can deploy in their efforts to shape legislation, making it a valuable resource for all interested in legislatures, executive-legislative relations and the policy process more generally. * Amie Kreppel, Jean Monnet Chair, Department of Political Science, University of Florida *
If you want to know the true story of how parliament legislates, read this book carefully. If you think you already know, then read it even more carefully-as this is about real bills and the politics behind and within each of them, and it may well contain things that surprise you. If instead you're interested in politics but not in legislation at Westminster, then you're missing something: there is more going on than meets the eye! * David Natzler, Clerk of the House of Commons *
Russell and Gover's Legislation at Westminster is a welcome respite from the callous opprobrium aimed at Parliament. And for those interested in the complexities of parliamentary process it is not only a welcome respite, but it is downright enjoyable reading. The book is an intricate and considered analysis of the way that Westminster operates. * Brian Christopher Jones, The Edinburgh Law Review *

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