chapter  4
39 Pages

Rulers and Whips

ByEmma Crewe

The whips are losing power, backbenchers are gaining clout through influential committees, government consultations are more common and petitions are on the increase. The whips form the usual channels who are responsible for arranging the business of the House in consultation with the Leader of the House. The whips mediate between backbenchers and front-benchers; they act as the glue that holds the political party together so that the frontbench can run government, or oppose, with controlled conflict and the minimum of fuss. The difficulties of whipping during a coalition were on full display during the Lords reform rebellion in 2012. The proposals for introducing a mostly elected House of Lords appear modern, democratic and rational; most Lib Dems, some Labour and a few Conservative MPs supported them. Privy Counsellors (PC) are mostly MPs and Lords with a sprinkling of bishops and judges and readers know when an MP is a PC because they are addressed as the Right Honourable Member.