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Interpreting Parliamentary Scrutiny: An enquiry concerning everyday practices of parliamentary actors in select committees of the House of Commons

Geddes, M (2016) Interpreting Parliamentary Scrutiny: An enquiry concerning everyday practices of parliamentary actors in select committees of the House of Commons. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This doctorate looks at the role of parliamentary select committees in the UK House of Commons. Though the literature on this topic is extensive, this research project explores the issue from a distinctive vantage point. While research on committees has predominantly focused on their outputs, such as committee reports, in order to assess the effectiveness of Parliament in holding the executive to account, this thesis looks at the input-side to committee work. It explores the individual beliefs, everyday practices and perennial dilemmas of parliamentary actors in select committees. In doing so, this thesis argues that understanding beliefs and practices of committee members, chairs and staff are crucial ways to better comprehend the way that scrutiny works in the House of Commons. This PhD finds that scrutiny is contested in a range of ways by a range of actors. In taking actors’ interpretations seriously, this PhD reveals that each actor has their own performance style, which is used to enact beliefs about scrutiny. At its most simple, this PhD argues that scrutiny is pushed and pulled in different (sometimes conflicting) directions by parliamentary actors. There is no such thing as uniform, systematic select committee scrutiny; there exist only dense webs of scrutiny that rely upon committee members, chairs and staff to enact their roles in such ways to be conducive to holding the executive to account. These dense webs of scrutiny affect committee relationships, their ability to question witnesses in select committees, and construct consensus in writing reports.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Parliament, parliamentary scrutiny, select committees, British politics,
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Politics (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Mr M Geddes
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2016 14:51
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2019 00:18
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/13776

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