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Representation in Westminster in the 1990s : The ghost of Edmund Burke

Judge, David (1999) Representation in Westminster in the 1990s : The ghost of Edmund Burke. Journal of Legislative Studies, 5 (1). pp. 12-34. ISSN 1357-2334

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Abstract

Why are 'trustee' notions of representation still invoked in the UK House of Commons in the 1990s? In answering this question this article analyses the premises of Burkean theory and the arguments that these premises are of little relevance in the late twentieth century. Despite these dismissals of trusteeship, Burkean ideas are still articulated in the Commons some 200 years after they were first voiced. The idea of trusteeship can prove extremely useful to justify the actions of representatives when those actions conflict with constituency 'opinion', party policy or the wishes of interest groups. Examples of the occasions when Burkean notions have been invoked in the 1990s are provided.