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Ahead of his time: Richard Crossman and house of commons reform in the 1960s

Dorey, Peter and Honeyman, Victoria 2010. Ahead of his time: Richard Crossman and house of commons reform in the 1960s. British Politics 5 (2) , pp. 149-178. 10.1057/bp.2010.3

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Abstract

In the context of growing concern during the 1960s about Britain's relative economic decline, and parallel concern about the increasing remoteness of government and administration from the people, there was growing interest among commentators in modernising Britain's political institutions, in order to render them more effective and representative. Much of this interest was shared by Labour's Richard Crossman, who had himself previously written scholarly analyses of the deficiencies of Parliament, and had proposed reforms to reverse its apparent decline and marginalisation. Crossman was granted a unique opportunity to give practical effect to his proposals when he was appointed Leader of the House in 1966, but he enjoyed only limited success, due largely to the fact that few of his senior Labour colleagues shared his enthusiasm for reform, particularly once they had risen to Ministerial rank, and thus enjoyed the power and privileges this bestowed upon them. Many Ministers also failed to discern a link between parliamentary reform and reversal of Britain's economic decline. On the contrary, the economic problems confronting the 1964–1970 Labour Governments were widely viewed as necessitating stronger action from the centre, and this would hardly be achieved by devolving power to, or sharing it with, backbench MPs in the House of Commons.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Uncontrolled Keywords: Richard Crossman; accountability; backbench/backbenchers; scrutiny; House of Commons; constitutional reform
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
ISSN: 1746-918X
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 02:57
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/14409

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