Abstract: The Westminster system of government is one of the principal forms of government in the democratic world, yet it has been subject to myriad definitions or, with a meaning taken as given, considered by many commentators to be a diminishing phenomenon, “unworkable outside the special circumstances of mainland Britain” and lacking in legitimacy. Here, we offer a definition of the Westminster system as a culturally based system of government, one that derives from an accepted view of government and modes of executive–legislative relations. Pace critics such as Beetham, we find that the system has attributes that have ensured its pervasiveness and endurance.
Keywords: adversary politics; British Parliament; chambers; consensus legislatures; executive authority; opposition; Speakers; Westminster system
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