ABSTRACT

Although the role and power of national political parties in local government varies across Europe, the organisation and activities of parties and the role they play in local government has an infl uence on the way councillors act as local representatives, decision makers and governors of their localities (see Ware 1996; Back 2003; Copus 2000, 2004; Leach 2006; Guerin and Kerrouche 2008). Indeed, national political parties interpose themselves between the councillor and the citizen and make demands on the loyalty and representative focus of the councillor, drawing him or her away from a direct link with the citizen (Glassberg 1981; Cole 2002; Copus 2004 and Delwit et al. 2007). Moreover, national political parties impose disciplinary demands on their councillors to ensure they act in unifi ed, coherent blocs speaking and voting together. In addition, feelings of party loyalty and the strength of attachment councillors have to their parties also ensures that they focus on it as a point of political reference. Party discipline and party loyalty places the party at the forefront of the councillor’s attention and generates a tension between the citizen and community and the councillor (see Eulau and Whalke 1959; Fallend et al. 2006 and Getimis and Hlepas 2013 and Aars et al. , Chapter 6 in this book).