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Understanding Third Parties at Westminster: The SNP in the 2015 Parliament

Thompson, Louise (2017) Understanding Third Parties at Westminster: The SNP in the 2015 Parliament Politics, 38 (4). pp. 443-457.

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Opposition politics in the British House of Commons is dominated by the ‘Official’ Opposition. However, other parties also carry out opposition roles in the chamber. This is particularly true of the third largest party, which is afforded some parliamentary privileges yet is overlooked in studies of Parliament. This article fills this gap, using a case study of the Scottish National Party (SNP) to analyse the challenges facing the third party in the Commons. It additionally contributes to the literature on regional nationalist parties, exploring the micro level variables affecting their agenda-setting capacities within a state level parliament. Drawing primarily on elite interviews with SNP MPs and staff, it finds that third party rights are not as significant as they may appear. Party size alone is not sufficient to guarantee impact in the Commons. Strategies to overcome the inherent procedural constraints of the chamber are also required. In the SNP’s case this included incremental organisational change, a highly collegiate intra-party culture and mentoring from existing MPs during the 2015 Parliament.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Politics
Authors :
Date : 14 December 2017
Funders : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Surrey.
DOI : 10.1177/0263395717740585
Copyright Disclaimer : Copyright 2017 SAGE Publications
Uncontrolled Keywords : SNP, opposition, House of Commons, third parties, Westminster
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 23 Aug 2017 14:23
Last Modified : 18 Oct 2018 10:49

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