22nd March: 1.00pm
Held in contempt: What’s wrong with the House of Commons?
According to Hannah White, the House of Commons is increasingly held in contempt by the British public. From attending parties in lockdown to taking payment for lobbying, MPs undermine their credibility by acting as if the rules they set for others should not apply to them. Still far from representative of the country they govern from the ancient and crumbling Palace of Westminster, MPs appear detached from the lives led by their constituents – conducting their business according to rules and procedures that have become too complex for many of them to understand.
In her timely new book, Hannah White offers a perceptive critique of the shortcomings of the House of Commons, arguing that the reputation of the Commons is in a downward spiral – compounded by government attempts to sideline parliament during Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic. At a time of populist challenge to representative democracy, this book is an essential rallying cry – for MPs to reform the House of Commons – equipping it to fulfil its important role as a cornerstone of our democracy – or see it fade into irrelevance.
Hannah White is the Deputy Director of the London-based think tank The Institute for Government. She is a regular commentator on Westminster and Whitehall for radio and television in the UK and internationally, and writes for publications including The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph and Prospect. She received an OBE in the 2020 Birthday Honours for services to the Constitution.
In association with Manchester University Press