Hannah WhiteMay 18, 2022
Held in Contempt
What's Wrong with the House of Commons?
Manchester University Press 2022
What is the future for the House of Commons? In Held in Contempt: What’s Wrong with the House of Commons? (Manchester UP, 2022), Hannah White, Deputy Director of the Institute for Government, sets out a critique of the way a key institution at the heart of British democracy is failing to deliver for citizens, staff, and Members alike. Set against the backdrop of Brexit, the Coronavirus pandemic, and various institutional scandals, the book details how the Commons fails in its role of holding government to account; is unrepresentative of the population as a whole; is overly complicated and arcane; and is housed in a building that is no longer fit for purpose. At the heart of the book is a challenge to MPs to reform both their own culture and the Commons itself. Ultimately, the book is a defence of the high standards that the Commons should aspire to and has a range of recommendations to make this happen. It is essential reading for every British citizen, and anyone interested in politics.
Dave O'Brien is Professor of Cultural and Creative Industries, at the University of Sheffield.