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The constituency work of members of the Scottish Parliament and Assembly for Wales : approaches, relationships and rules

Mitchell, James and Bradbury, J. (2007) The constituency work of members of the Scottish Parliament and Assembly for Wales : approaches, relationships and rules. Regional and Federal Studies, 17 (1). 117 - 145. ISSN 1359-7566

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Abstract

The Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales electoral systems created both constituency and list members. The article discusses hypotheses for exploring their behaviour and notes the particular context of regional party systems dominated to a greater or lesser extent by the Labour party. The authors find that constituency members of the Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly broadly conduct more constituency work than list members, although the extent of list member is still significant for a variety of reasons. The qualitative nature of list member constituency work is not systematically different from that of constituency members. Nevertheless, there are variations in list member approaches. Constituency and list member perceptions of list member work also differ and this has become a serious source of controversy. Relationships between constituency and list members, and between devolved representatives and MPs, are competitive or co-operative, predominantly in relation to partisan interest. In both Scotland and Wales predominantly Labour constituency members have critical views of the roles of list members and have contested the rules governing constituency work. This has been alleviated to some extent by commitments to political pluralism, though more in Scotland than in Wales.