The United Kingdom: Reforming the Westminster Model

Patrick Dunleavy, Helen Margetts

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Plurality rule voting has historically lain at the heart of the Westminster system and of British ‘exceptionalism’ from its European counterparts. Throughout most of the twentieth century, the fundamental British conceptions of how liberal democracy should link citizens to their governments and political representatives have been based on customary ways of counting votes, have sought only very limited information about people’s preference structures, and have been strikingly unresponsive in many different ways to wider patterns of social and political change. Political representation and accountability to citizens have been interpreted in a minimal way, within a long-lived and arguably ‘primitive’ conception of the scope of accountability and the meaning of citizens’ representation. This approach survived intact for virtually the whole century — despite the transformative impacts of two world wars, massive economic and social class changes and the shift from Fordist and patriarchal social structures to ‘postmodern’ patterns of social life.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Electoral System Choice
EditorsJosep M. Colomer
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780230522749
ISBN (Print)9781403904546, 9781349509423
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


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