Skip to main content
×
×
Home

The Shadow Cabinet in Westminster Systems: Modeling Opposition Agenda Setting in the House of Commons, 1832–1915

  • Andrew C. Eggers and Arthur Spirling
Abstract

This article considers the emergence of an informal institution vital to the functioning of Westminster polities: that the Shadow Cabinet is a ‘government in waiting’. It compares the evidence for two theoretical accounts of its timing: a ‘procedural’ theory wherein the Shadow Cabinet is a solution to internal organizational issues in the House of Commons prior to widespread working-class voting, and a ‘competition’ theory that predicts that suffrage extension acts as a key stimulus for Shadow Cabinet organization. Gathering a dataset of almost a million utterances in parliament between the First and Fourth Reform Acts, the study provides a novel method of identifying Shadow Cabinet members using the surges in term use from their speeches. It finds that the ‘competition’ hypothesis is the most plausible version of events, and that the opposition responded to the new ‘party-orientated electorate’ by strategically reorganizing in a way that mimicked the cabinet’s structure.

Copyright
Footnotes
Hide All
*

Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford (email: andrew.eggers@nuffield.ox.ac.uk); Department of Politics, New York University (email: arthur.spirling@nyu.edu). Audiences at the American Political Science Association, Midwest Political Science Association, the Princeton Political Methodology seminar, New York University and Nuffield College, Oxford provided helpful feedback. Comments from Karen Jusko and JF Godbout are greatly appreciated. Data replication sets and online appendices are available at http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1017/S0007123416000016.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Adelman, Paul. 1997. Gladstone, Disraeli and Later Victorian Politics. New York: Longman.
Aidt, Toke, Daunton, Martin, and Dutta, Jayasri. 2010. The Retrenchment Hypothesis and the Extension of the Franchise in England and Wales. The Economic Journal 120 (547):9901020.
Alt, James. 1975. Continuity, Turnover and Experience in the British Cabinet, 1868–1970. In Cabinet Studies: A Reader, edited by Valentine Herman and James Alt, 3354. London: Macmillan.
Aydelotte, William O. 1963. Voting Patterns in the British House of Commons in the 1840s. Comparative Studies in Society and History 5 (2):134163.
Bagehot, Walter. 1873/2011. The English Constitution, 2nd Edition. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. Available from http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/econ/ugcm/3ll3/bagehot/constitution.pdf, accessed 6 June 2011.
Bai, Jushan, and Perron, Pierre. 2003. Computation and Analysis of Multiple Structural Change Models. Journal of Applied Econometrics 18:122.
Bateman, Joel. 2009. In the Shadows: The Shadow Cabinet in Australia. Canberra: Parliament of Australia, Department of Parliamentary Services.
Benedetto, Giacomo, and Hix, Simon. 2007. The Rejected, the Ejected and the Dejected: Explaining Government Rebels in the 2001-5 British House of Commons. Comparative Political Studies 40 (7):755781.
Berlinski, Samuel, and Dewan, Torun. 2011. The Political Consequences of Franchise Extension: Evidence from the Second Reform Act. Quarterly Journal of Political Science 6 (34):329376.
Berlinski, Samuel, Dewan, Torun, and Dowding, Keith. 2007. The Length of Ministerial Tenure in the United Kingdom, 1945–97. British Journal of Political Science 37 (4):245262.
Berrington, Hugh. 1968. Partisanship and Dissidence in the Nineteenth Century House of Commons. Parliamentary Affairs XXI:338374.
Binder, Jeff. 2012. Bursts: Markov Model for Bursty Behavior in Streams. R package version 1.0.
Bogdanor, Vernon, and Butler, David. 1983. Democracy and Elections: Electoral Systems and their Political Consequences. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Brazier, Julian. 1997. Ministers of the Crown. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Brazier, Rodney. 1999. Constitutional Practice: The Foundations of British Government. New York: Oxford University Press.
Butler, David, and Stokes, Donald. 1969. Political Change in Britain. London: Macmillan.
Butler, David, and Butler, Gareth. 1994. Twentieth Century British Historical Facts, 8th Edition, London: MacMillan Press.
Cain, Bruce, Ferejohn, John, and Fiorina, Morris. 1987. The Personal Vote: Constituency Service and Electoral Independence. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Camp, Edwin, Dixit, Avinash, and Stokes, Susan. 2014. Catalyst or Cause? Legislation and the Demise of Machine Politics in Britain and the United States. Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIX (4):559592.
Chester, Norman, and Bowring, Nona. 1962. Questions in Parliament. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Clark, Tom, and Lauderdale, Benjamin. 2010. Locating Supreme Court Opinions in Doctrine Space. American Journal of Political Science 54:871890.
Clarke, Harold, Sanders, David, Stewart, Marianne, and Whiteley, Paul. 2004. Political Choice in Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Cobb, Roger, Ross, Jennie-Keith, and Ross, Marc Howard. 1976. Agenda Building as a Comparative Political Process. American Political Science Review 70 (1):126138.
Cook, Christopher, and Keith, Brendan. 1975. British Historical Facts 1830–1900. London: Palgrave-MacMillan.
Cowley, Philip. 2002. The Rebels. London: Politicos.
Cox, Gary. 1987. The Efficient Secret: The Cabinet and the Development of Political Parties in Victorian England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Cox, Gary. 1992. The Origin of Whip Votes in the House of Commons. Parliamentary History 11 (2):278285.
Cox, Gary, and McCubbins, Mathew. 2005. Setting the Agenda: Responsible Party Government in the US House of Representatives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Craig, Frederick. 1974. British Parliamentary Election Results, 1885–1918. London: MacMillan Press.
Craig, Frederick. 1989. British Parliamentary Election Results, 1832–1885. London: Macmillan Press.
Crisp, Leslie. 1983. Australian National Government. Melbourne: Longman.
Desposato, Scott. 2006. How Informal Electoral Institutions Shape the Brazilian Legislative Agenda. In Informal Institutions and Democracy: Lessons from Latin America, edited by Gretchen Helmke and Steven Levitsky, 125142. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Dewan, Torun, and Myatt, David. 2010. The Declining Talent Pool of Government. American Journal of Political Science 54 (2):267286.
Dewan, Torun, and Spirling, Arthur. 2011. Strategic Opposition and Government Cohesion in Westminster Democracies. American Political Science Review 105 (2):337358.
Doring, Herbert. 1995. Institutions and Policies: Why We Need Cross National Analysis. In Parliaments and Majority Rule in Western Europe, edited by Herbert Doring, 2750. New York: St Martin’s Press.
Eggers, Andrew, and Spirling, Arthur. 2014. Electoral Security as a Determinant of Legislator Activity, 1832–1918: New Data and Methods for Analyzing British Political Development. Legislative Studies Quarterly 39 (4):593620.
Eggers, Andrew, and Spirling, Arthur. Forthcoming. Party Cohesion in Westminster Systems: Inducements, Replacement and Discipline in the House of Commons. British Journal of Political Science.
Erskine May, Thomas. 1864/1986. The Constitutional History of England Since the Accession of George Third, 1760-1860. Littleton, CO: F.B. Rothman.
Fader, Anthony, Radev, Dragomir, Monroe, Burt L., and Quinn, Kevin M.. 2007. MavenRank: Identifying Influential Members of the US Senate Using Lexical Centrality. Proceedings of the 2007 Joint Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and Computational Natural Language Learning, 658–66.
Franklin, Mark, and Norton, Philip. 1993. Questions and Members. In Parliamentary Questions, edited by Mark Franklin and Philip Norton, 104222. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Fraser, Peter. 1960. The Growth of Ministerial Control in the Nineteenth-Century House of Commons. English Historical Review 75 (296):444463.
Gash, Norman. 1952. Politics in the Age of Peel: A Study in the Technique of Parliamentary Representation, 1830–1850. London: Longmans, Green, and Co.
Godbout, Jean-Francois, and Hoyland, Bjorn. 2013. Parties and Voting in Parliament. Working Paper. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University.
Grimmer, Justin, and Stewart, Brandon. 2013. Text as Data: The Promise and Pitfalls of Automatic Content Analysis Methods for Political Texts. Political Analysis 21 (3):267297.
Hall, Peter, and Taylor, Rosemary. 1996. Political Science and the Three New Institutionalisms. Political Studies 44 (5):936957.
Hanham, Harold. 1978. Elections and Party Management. Hassocks, Sussex: Harvester Press.
Heath, Anthony, Curtice, John, Jowell, Roger, Evans, Geoffrey, Field, John, and Witherspoon, Sharon. 1991. Understanding Political Change: The British Voter, 1964–1987. Oxford: Pergamon.
Helmke, Gretchen, and Levitsky, Steven. 2004. Informal Institutions and Comparative Politics: A Research Agenda. Perspectives on Politics 2 (4):725740.
Holzhacker, Ronald. 2005. The Power of Opposition Parliamentary Party Groups in European Scrutiny. The Journal of Legislative Studies 11 (3–4):428445.
Howe, Anthony. 1998. Free Trade and Liberal England, 1846–1946. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Jackman, Simon, and Treier, Shawn. 2008. Democracy as a Latent Variable. American Journal of Political Science 52 (1):201217.
Jenkins, Terence. 1996. Parliament, Party and Politics and Victorian Britain. New York: Manchester University Press.
Jenks, Edward. 1903. Parliamentary England: The Evolution of the Cabinet System. New York: G Putnam’s Sons.
Jensen, Jacob, Kaplan, Ethan, Naidu, Suresh, and Wilse-Samson, Laurence. 2012. Political Polarization and the Dynamics of Political Language: Evidence from 130 Years of Partisan Speech. Brookings Papers on Economic Activity (Fall):160.
Johnson, Nevil. 1997. Opposition in the British Political System. Government and Opposition 32 (4):487510.
Kam, Christopher J. 2009. Party Discipline and Parliamentary Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kam, Christopher, and Indridason, Indridi. 2005. The Timing of Cabinet Reshuffles in Five Westminster Parliamentary Systems. Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX (3):327363.
Kelley, Robert. 1960. Midlothian: A Study in Politics and Ideas. Victorian Studies 4 (2):119140.
King, Anthony. 1994. Ministerial Autonomy in Britain. In Cabinet Ministers and Parliamentary Government, edited by Michael Laver and Kenneth Shepsle, 203225. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kleinberg, Jon. 2002. Bursty and Hierarchical Structure in Streams. Proceedings of the Eighth ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, ACM, New York, NY, pp. 91–101.
Krehbiel, Keith. 1992. Information and Legislative Organization. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Krehbiel, Keith. 1998. Pivotal Politics: A Theory of US Lawmaking. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Lauth, Hans-Joachim. 2000. Informal Institutions and Democracy. Democratization 7 (4):2150.
Lijphart, Arend. 1999. Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Lowell, Abbott. 1908. The Government of England. New York: Macmillan.
Lowell, James. 1902. The Influence of Party on Legislation in England and America. In Annual Report for the American Historical Association for the Year 1901, 319–542.
Mahoney, James, and Thelen, Kathleen. 2010. A Theory of Gradual Institutional Change. In Explaining Institutional Change: Ambiguity, Agency and Power, edited by James Mahoney and Kathleen Thelen, 137. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Marriott, John. 1925. English Political Institutions: An Introductory Study. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray. 1997. Gladstone 1809–1898. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
McLean, Iain. 2001. Rational Choice and British Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ostrogorski, Moisei. 1902/1964. Democracy and the Organization of Political Parties. Garden City, NY: Anchor Books.
Pemstein, Daniel, Meserve, Stephen A., and Melton, James. 2010. Democratic Compromise: A Latent Variable Analysis of Ten Measures of Regime Type. Political Analysis 18 (4):426449.
Pollack, Mark. 1997. Delegation, Agency, and Agenda Setting in the European Community. International Organization 51 (1):99134.
Potter, Allan. 1965. Great Britain: Opposition with a Capital ‘O’. In Political Oppositions in Western Democracies, edited by Robert Dahl, 333. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Powell, Bingham. 2000. Elections as Instruments of Democracy: Majoritarian and Proportional Visions. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Power, Charles. 1966. A Party Politician: The Memoirs of Chubby Power. Toronto: Macmillan of Canada.
Punnett, Robert. 1973. Front-Bench Opposition: The Role of the Leader of the Opposition, the Shadow Cabinet, and Shadow Government in British Politics. London: Heinemann.
Quinn, Kevin, Monroe, Burt, Colaresi, Michael, Crespin, Michael H., and Radev, Dragomir. 2010. How to Analyze Political Attention with Minimal Assumptions and Costs. American Journal of Political Science 54:209228.
Quinn, Thomas. 2012. Electing and Ejecting Party Leaders in Britain. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
R Core Team. 2013. R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. Vienna, Austria: R Foundation for Statistical Computing.
Redlich, Josef. 1908. The Procedure of the House of Commons: A Study of its History and Present Form. London: Constable & Co.
Rhodes, Rod, Wanna, John, and Weller, Patrick. 2009. Comparing Westminster. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Rhodes, Rod, and Weller, Patrick. 2005. Westminster Transplanted and Westminster Implanted: Exploring Political Change. In Westminster Legacies: Democracy and Responsible Government in Asia and the Pacific, edited by Haig Patapan, John Wanna and Patrick Weller, 112. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press.
Richards, Peter G. 1988. Mackintosh’s the Government and Politics of Britain. London: Routledge.
Rush, Michael. 2001. The Role of the Member of Parliament Since 1868: From Gentlemen to Players. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Schonhardt-Bailey, Cheryl. 2003. Ideology, Party and Interests in the British Parliament of 1841–1847. British Journal of Political Science 33:581605.
Schumpeter, Joseph. 1942. Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. New York: Harper.
Slapin, Jonathan, and Proksch, Sven-Oliver. 2008. A Scaling Model for Estimating Time Series Party Positions from Texts. American Journal of Political Science 52 (3):705722.
Stokes, Susan. 2006. Do Informal Rules Make Democracy Work? Accounting for Accountability in Argentina. In Informal Institutions and Democracy: Lessons from Latin America, edited by Gretchen Helmke and Steven Levitsky, 125142. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Svolik, Milan. 2014. Which Democracies Will Last? Coups, Incumbent Takeovers, and the Dynamic of Democratic Consolidation. British Journal of Political Science 45 (4):735738.
Turner, Duncan. 1969. The Shadow Cabinet in British Politics. New York: Routledge.
Volden, Craig, Wiseman, Alan, and Wittmer, Dana. 2013. When are Women More Effective Lawmakers Than Men? American Journal of Political Science 57 (2):326341.
Walker, Brian. 1978. Parliamentary Elections in Ireland, 1801–1922. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy.
Wawro, Gregory, and Schickler, Eric. 2006. Filibuster: Obstruction and Lawmaking in the US Senate. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Zeileis, Achim, Leisch, Friedrich, Hornik, Kurt, and Kleiber, Christian. 2002. Strucchange: An R Package for Testing for Structural Change in Linear Regression Models. Journal of Statistical Software 7 (2):138.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×
Type Description Title
UNKNOWN
Supplementary materials

Eggers and Spirling Dataset
Dataset

 Unknown
PDF
Supplementary materials

Eggers and Spirling supplementary material
Eggers and Spirling supplementary material 1

 PDF (50 KB)
50 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed