Ministers and Parliament: Accountability in Theory and Practice

Hardcover | June 1, 1994

byDiana Woodhouse

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In constitutional theory the convention of individual ministerial responsibility ensures the accountability of ministers to Parliament. In practice it is frequently used by government to limit rather than facilitate accountability. In this book Diana Woodhouse examines the divergence betweentheory and practice.She analyses the situations in which ministers resign, the effectivness of resignation as a means of accountability, and the abdication by ministers of responsibility. She also examines the powers and limitations of Select Committees, the effect of the new Next Steps Agencies on individualministerial responsibility, and draws comparisons with mechanisms of accountability adopted by other countries operating under the Westminster system of government.The inclusion of detailed case studies of the resignations, actual and threatened, of Lord Carrington, Leon Brittan, Edwina Currie, David Mellor, James Prior, and Kenneth Baker make this book especially pertinent to our understanding of the current political scene and to recent institutional changeswithin Parliament and government. By highlighting the present deficiencies and possible future failing in public accountability Dr Woodhouse's study provides an essential complement to recent debates about constitutional reform.

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From the Publisher

In constitutional theory the convention of individual ministerial responsibility ensures the accountability of ministers to Parliament. In practice it is frequently used by government to limit rather than facilitate accountability. In this book Diana Woodhouse examines the divergence betweentheory and practice.She analyses the situat...

Diana Woodhouse is a Senior Lecturer in Law at Oxford Brookes University.

other books by Diana Woodhouse

In Pursuit of Good Administration: Ministers, Civil Servants and Judges
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Hardcover|Oct 1 1997

$233.59 online$234.00list price
Format:HardcoverDimensions:330 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.94 inPublished:June 1, 1994Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198278926

ISBN - 13:9780198278924

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Table of Contents

I: The Convention of Individual Ministerial Responsibility1. The Accountability of Ministers to Parliament2. The Content of the ConventionII: Resignations and Non-resignations: The Operation of Individual Ministerial Responsibility in the 1980s and 1990s3. The Requirement for Resignation4. Resignations for Personal Fault: Political Errors5. Resignations for Personal Fault: Private Indiscretion6. Resignations for Departmental Fault7. Cases of Non-resignation: Political Circumstances and Constitutional Obligations8. Cases of Non-resignation: An Evasion of Ministerial Responsibility?9. Conclusion: The Coincidence of Constitutional and Political RequirementsIII: Changes Affecting the Operation of Individual Ministerial Responsibility10. The Reform of the Select Committee System: An Attempt to Redress the Balance11. Next Steps Agencies: Management Reform in the Civil Service12. Next Steps Agencies: The Problems of Accountability13. Comparative Perspectives on Accountability and Constitutional Reform14. Conclusion

Editorial Reviews

`Diana Woodhouse's book is a gem. It is beautifully written, with all the best qualities of scholarly craftsmanship, but it covers a broad field of contemporary British history with many details that will be familiar to most readers. Moreover, it contains valuable judgements andrecommendations so that it significantly adds to our knowledge of an important aspect of the British constitution ... This book makes a valuable contribution to the literature on the British constitution by considering one of its essential features through recent practical experience.'Contemporary Record