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Article dans une revue

Now in order but not more accountable

Abstract : Since mid-March 2020 when the Covid-19 restrictions came into effect in the House of Commons, Prime Minister’s Question Time (PMQs) has become less crowded and notably quieter. Consequently, the number of interruptions and face attacking acts (FTAs, FAAs) have been reduced to virtual non-existence turning the “Punch and Judy show” into an uncharacterically “pleasingly boring” moment. Peter Bone (MP) laments that the semi-virtual Parliament fails to hold the government to properly account echoing a Sky journalist’s advocacy for all “the boisterous, raucous and spontaneous normality” of the House. Those remarks beg the question of how disorder and government accountability are related. This article explores the relation between disorderly conduct of the members of the House of Commons and the notion of accountability in the context of PMQs. Drawing on Erskine May two elements have been identified as the cause of disorder in the House : the first : unparliamentary language including offending words, insults, FTAs ; and the second element : interruptions (verbal, non verbal collective or individual disruptions) A first section aims at explaining the nature of the relation between disorderly conduct and accountability while interrogating the efficacy of such tools in the process of holding the government accountable. A second section focuses more specifically on the notion of accountability and its definition in relation to disorder. The interconnectedness that has been established between unparliamentary conduct and the concept of political representation (MPs speaking for their constituents) raises the issue of proximity. Distance is believed to play a major role in the (re)defintion of the idea of accountability. The last part of the article examines how the disorderly conduct of MPs and leaders have become the means by which accountability is assessed by people.
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Contributeur : Stéphane Revillet <>
Soumis le : vendredi 14 mai 2021 - 07:50:39
Dernière modification le : mardi 25 mai 2021 - 08:17:36


  • HAL Id : hal-03226087, version 1



Stéphane Revillet. Now in order but not more accountable. Revue LISA / LISA e-journal, Presses universitaires de Rennes, In press. ⟨hal-03226087⟩



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