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The Speaker, The Commons, and Democracy

By Tony Benn
September 2000
Spokesman Books, UK
ISBN: 0-85124-639-7
$6.95 paper original

If we are expected to accept a president instead of a prime minister then we need a house of representatives, free to support, amend or reject proposals that come from the government of the day - a genuinely independent legislative assembly. A determined new Speaker, armed with the authority of the House and absolutely free from executive control could raise these questions and hand down rulings from the chair which upheld the role of MPs as representing their constituents' interests, making ministers more accountable.

There is no doubt that unless we can restore the vitality of representative democracy more and more people will conclude that they are just pawns in an unending political game to be managed and manipulated for the convenience of those at the top.

What is needed now is a deliberate strategy to make political power accountable and to use democracy to protect us from the abuse of global economic power, which we are told we have to accept.