Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-559fc8cf4f-7x8lp Total loading time: 0.288 Render date: 2021-03-02T15:38:28.883Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }

The Politics of Procedural Choice: Regulating Legislative Debate in the UK House of Commons, 1811–2015

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 September 2019

Niels D. Goet
Affiliation:
Data Scientist, Inspera AS, Oslo, Norway
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

The historical development of rules of debate in the UK House of Commons raises an important puzzle: why do members of parliament (MPs) impose limits on their own rights? Despite a growing interest in British Political Development and the institutional changes of nineteenth-century UK politics, the academic literature has remained largely silent on this topic. Three competing explanations have emerged in studies of the US Congress, focusing on efficiency, partisan forces and non-partisan (or: ideology-based) accounts. This article falls broadly into the third category, offering a consensus-oriented explanation of the historical development of parliamentary rules. Working from a new dataset on the reform of standing orders in the House of Commons over a 205-year period (1811–2015), as well as records of over six million speeches, the author argues that MPs commit more quickly to passing restrictive rules in the face of obstruction when legislator preferences are proximate within both the opposition and government, and when polarization between both sides of the aisle is low. The research represents, to the author's knowledge, the first systematic and directional test of a range of competing theories of UK parliamentary reform, shedding light on the process of parliamentary reform over a prolonged period of Commons history, and advancing several new measures of polarization in the UK House of Commons.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

Abreu, D (1998) On the theory of infinitely repeated games with discounting. Econometrica 56(2), 383396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Abreu, D, Milgrom, P and Pearce, D (1991) Information and timing in repeated partnerships. Econometrica 59(6), 17131733.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Aldrich, JH (1995) Why Parties? The Origin and Transformation of Political Parties in America. Chicago, IL and London: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Aldrich, JH and Rohde, DW (1998) Measuring Conditional Party Government. Prepared for delivery at the Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Palmer House Hotel, Chicago, IL, 23–25 April.Google Scholar
Aldrich, JH and Rohde, DW (2009) Congressional committees in a continuing partisan era. In Dodd, LC and Oppenheimer, BI (eds) Congress Reconsidered, 9th edn. Washington, DC: CQ Press, pp. 217240.Google Scholar
Baron, DP and Ferejohn, JA (1989) Bargaining in legislatures. American Political Science Review 83(4), 11811206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bates, D et al. (2015) Fitting linear mixed- effects models using lme4. Journal of Statistical Software 67(1), 148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Beger, A et al. (2017) Splitting it up: the spduration split-population duration regression package for time-varying covariates. The R Journal 9(2), 474486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Benedetto, G and Hix, S (2007) The rejected, the ejected, and the dejected: explaining government rebels in the 2001–2005 British House of Commons. Comparative Political Studies 40(7), 755781.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Binder, SA (1996) The partisan basis of procedural choice: allocating parliamentary rights in the house, 1789–1990. The American Political Science Review 90(1), 820.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Blackburn, R, Kennon, A and Wheeler-Booth, SM (2003) Griffith and Ryle on Parliament: Functions, Practice and Procedures. 2nd edn. London: Sweet & Maxwell.Google Scholar
Boag, JW (1949) Maximum likelihood estimates of the proportion of patients cured by cancer therapy. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society 11(1), 1553.Google Scholar
Bryce, J (1921) Modern Democracies. New York: The Macmillan Company.Google Scholar
Butler, DE and Butler, G (2000) Twentieth-Century British Political Facts, 1900–2000, 8th edn. Basingstoke, UK: The Macmillan Press Ltd.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cook, C and Keith, B (1975) British Historical Facts 1830–1900. London and Basingstoke: The Macmillan Press Ltd.Google Scholar
Cooper, J and Young, CD (1989) Bill introduction in the nineteenth century: a study of institutional change. Legislative Studies Quarterly 14(1), 67105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cox, GW (1987) The Efficient Secret: The Cabinet and the Development of Political Parties in Victorian England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cox, GW (2006) The organisation of democratic legislatures. In Weingast, B and Wittman, D (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Political Economy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 141161.Google Scholar
Cox, GW and McCubbins, MD (1993) Legislative Leviathan: Party Government in the House. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Cox, GW and McCubbins, MD (1994) Bonding, structure, and the stability of political parties: party government in the house. Legislative Studies Quarterly 19(2), 215231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cox, GW and McCubbins, MD (1997) Toward a theory of legislative rules changes: assessing Schickler and Rich's evidence. American Journal of Political Science 41(4), 13761386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cox, GW and McCubbins, MD (2005) Setting the Agenda: Responsible Party Government in the U.S. House of Representatives. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Diermeier, D and Vlaicu, R (2011) Parties, coalitions, and the internal organization of legislatures. American Political Science Review 105(2), 359380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dixit, AK (2004) Lawlessness and Economics: Alternative Modes of Governance. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Eggers, AC and Spirling, A (2014) Ministerial responsiveness in Westminster systems: institutional choices and house of commons debate, 1832–1915. American Journal of Political Science 58(4), 873887.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Eggers, AC and Spirling, A (2018) The shadow cabinet in Westminster systems: modeling opposition agenda setting in the house of commons, 1832–1915. British Journal of Political Science 48(2), 343367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fraser, P (1960) The growth of ministerial control in the nineteenth-century house of commons. The English Historical Review 75(296), 444463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gelman, A and Hill, J (2007) Data Analysis Using Regression and Multilevel/Hierarchical Models. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Goet, ND (2019a) Replication Data for: The Politics of Procedural Choice: Regulating Legislative Debate in the UK House of Commons, 1811–2015. https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/NEAG2L, Harvard Dataverse, V1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Goet, ND (2019b) Measuring polarization with text analysis: evidence from the UK House of Commons, 1811–2015. Political Analysis (First View). https://doi.org/10.1017/pan.2019.2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Goet, ND, Fleming, TG and Zubek, R (2019) Procedural Change in the UK House of Commons, 1811–2015. Legislative Studies Quarterly (Early View). https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/lsq.12249.Google Scholar
Hix, S and Noury, A (2010) unpublished paper. Scaling the Commons: Using MPs’ Left-Right Self-Placement and Voting Divisions to Map the British Parliament, 1997–2005. Available at http://personal.lse.ac.uk/hix/Working_Papers/Hix-Noury-UK-26Aug2010-APSA.pdf.Google Scholar
Huber, JD (1992) Restrictive legislative procedures in France and the United States. The American Political Science Review 86(3), 675687.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jenkins, JA (1998) Property rights and the emergence of standing committee dominance in the nineteenth-century House. Legislative Studies Quarterly 23(4), 493519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kam, C (2009) Party Discipline and Parliamentary Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kelso, A (2009) Parliamentary Reform at Westminster. Manchester: Manchester University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kiewiet, DR and McCubbins, M (1991) The Logic of Delegation: Congressional Parties and the Appropriations Process. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Koß, M (2015) The origins of parliamentary agenda control: a comparative process tracing analysis. West European Politics 5(38), 10621085.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Krehbiel, K (1991) Information and Legislative Organization. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Krehbiel, K (1998) Pivotal Politics: A Theory of US Lawmaking. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Krehbiel, K (2004) Legislative organization. The Journal of Economic Perspectives 18(1), 113128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Martin, S (2011) Using parliamentary questions to measure constituency focus: an application to the Irish case. Political Studies 59(2), 472488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McCarty, N (2000) Proposal rights, veto rights, and political bargaining. American Journal of Political Science 44(3), 506522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Morley, J (1903) The Life of William Ewart Gladstone. New York: MacMillan.Google Scholar
Morris, JS (2001) Reexamining the politics of talk: partisan rhetoric in the 104th house. Legislative Studies Quarterly 26(1), 101121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Moser, S and Reeves, A (2014) Taking the leap: voting, rhetoric, and the determinants of electoral reform. Legislative Studies Quarterly 39(4), 467502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ostrom, E (1990) Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions of Collective Action. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Peterson, A and Spirling, A (2018) Classification accuracy as a substantive quantity of interest: measuring polarization in Westminster systems. Political Analysis 26(1), 120128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Proksch, S-O and Slapin, JB (2015) The Politics of Parliamentary Debate: Parties, Rebels and Representation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rallings, C and Thrasher, M (2012) British Electoral Facts 1832–2012. London: Biteback Publishing Ltd.Google Scholar
Redlich, J (1908) The Procedure of the House of Commons: A Study of Its History and Present Form. Vol. 1. Translated from German by A. Ernest Steinthal. London: Archibald Constable & Co. Ltd.Google Scholar
Russell, M (2011) ‘Never allow a crisis go to waste’: the Wright Committee reforms to strengthen the House of Commons. Parliamentary Affairs 64(4), 612633.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rutherford, GW (1914) Some aspects of parliamentary obstruction. The Sewanee Review 22(2), 166180.Google Scholar
Schickler, E (2000) Institutional change in the house of representatives, 1867–1998: a test of partisan and ideological power balance models. The American Political Science Review 94(2), 269288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schwarz, D, Traber, D and Benoit, K (2015) Estimating intra-party preferences: comparing speeches to votes. Political Science Research and Methods 5(2), 379396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Spirling, A (2014) British political development: a research agenda. Legislative Studies Quarterly 39(4), 435437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Spirling, A and McLean, I (2007) UK OC OK? Interpreting optimal classification scores for the UK House of Commons. Political Analysis 15(1), 8596.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Svolik, M (2008) Authoritarian reversals and democratic consolidation. American Political Science Review 102(2), 153168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thornley, D (1960) The Irish Home Rule Party and parliamentary obstruction, 1874–87. Irish Historical Studies 12(45), 3857.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wilkins, AS (2018) To lag or not to lag? Re-evaluating the use of lagged dependent variables in regression analysis. Political Science Research and Methods 6(2), 393411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Link

Goet supplementary material

Goet supplementary material

PDF 304 KB

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 34
Total number of PDF views: 126 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 30th September 2019 - 2nd March 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

The Politics of Procedural Choice: Regulating Legislative Debate in the UK House of Commons, 1811–2015
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

The Politics of Procedural Choice: Regulating Legislative Debate in the UK House of Commons, 1811–2015
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

The Politics of Procedural Choice: Regulating Legislative Debate in the UK House of Commons, 1811–2015
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *