Prime ministerial accountability to Parliament to be researched

22 April 2015

Dr Mark Bennister, Senior Lecturer in Politics, has recently won Nuffield Foundation funding for a one year research project examining prime ministerial accountability to Parliament.

The project, which will begin in June 2015, is in collaboration with Dr Alix Kelso, University of Southampton and Dr Phil Larkin, University of Canberra. It will examine the evidence sessions held by the House of Commons Liaison Committee with the Prime Minister, to analyse the scrutiny and accountability potential of these sessions.

While Prime Minister’s Question Time gets a lot of media attention, and a lot of criticism, few are aware of these more low-profile accountability occasions through which the Prime Minister is asked very detailed questions about the government’s policies and decisions. The research will seek to highlight this little understood area of parliamentary work.

The team will work closely with the parliamentary clerks and MPs involved with these evidence sessions, to analyse their accountability contribution, and to provide recommendations for how this form of scrutiny might be improved. The project also involves national and international comparative work, to find similar examples of prime ministerial accountability in other political systems and to learn from them.

This exciting piece of research is positioned to make significant contributions to the understanding of both the limits and the possibilities of democratic accountability mechanisms.

The team will be led by Dr Bennister as Principal Investigator, and will be funded by the Nuffield Foundation Open Door Programme, which funds projects that scrutinise the constitution and legislative process in order to identify opportunities for reform, see

Notes to Editor

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With almost 18,000 students across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • 97% of our UK graduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • We are the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2013 UCAS).
  • We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.

*2012/13 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey


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Last edited: 05/12/2017 04:28:00