Skip to main navigation Skip to main content
The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political Sciences

New book published on Westminster Parliament

Published: 5 May 2009 Origin:  Politics and International Relations

Dr Alexandra Kelso has just had a new book published by Manchester University Press, entitled Parliamentary Reform at Westminster. This is Dr Kelso’s first book, and is the result of extensive research on the Westminster parliament and attempts to reform it over the past century.

The Labour government elected in 1997 pledged to reform the Westminster parliament by modernising the House of Commons and removing the hereditary peers from the House of Lords. Events have consequently demonstrated the deep controversy that accompanies such attempts at institutional reconfiguration, and have highlighted the shifting fault-lines in executive-legislative relations in the UK, as well as the deep complexities surrounding British constitutional politics.

The story of parliamentary reform is about the nature of the British political system, about how the government seeks to expand its control over parliament, and about how parliament discharges its duty to scrutinise the executive and hold it to account. The book charts the course of Westminster reform since 1997, but does so by placing it in the context of parliamentary reform pursued in the past, and thus adopts a historical perspective which lends it considerable analytical value. Significantly, the book examines parliamentary reform through the lens of institutional theory, in order not only to describe reform but also to interpret and explain it. It also draws on extensive interviews conducted with MPs and peers involved in the reform of parliament since 1997, thus offering a unique insight into how these political actors perceived the reform process in which they played a part.

Parliamentary Reform at Westminster provides a comprehensive and authoritative analysis of the trajectory and outcome of the reform of parliament, along with an incisive interpretation of the implications for our understanding of British politics.

Dr Kelso, whose primary research interests are focused on the Westminster parliament, is currently supplementing the book by working on an article with Professor Matthew Flinders (University of Sheffield) which examines the course of parliamentary reform since Gordon Brown became prime minister in 2007.

Related Staff Member

Privacy Settings