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The importance of political parties in county government

Copus, Colin; Sweeting, David; Oliver, Thom

Authors

Colin Copus

David Sweeting

Thom Oliver thom.oliver@uwe.ac.uk



Contributors

Xavier Bertrana
Editor

Björn Egner
Editor

Hubert Heinelt
Editor

Abstract

The chapter examines the organisation, activities and impact of party politics on the role of the county councillor as an elected representative. It will examine the way county councillors respond to party group demands for their loyalty and the way in which they act in a coherent and disciplined fashion in the conduct of local government business (Gyford, et al. 1989; Stoker 1991). The chapter will explore, using attitudinal data, how county councillors balance party pressures with the representation of local communities. It will address this question: If local democracy is party controlled and, as councillors (more often than not) belong to a national political party (see Bäck, 2003; Guerin and Kerrouche 2008), how do they balance the best interests of their voters and the parties of which they are a member (Copus 2004)?

The chapter will examine the relationship that county councillors have with their parties to comment on the applicability of the concept of party decline in local government. It will also explore how county councillors manage the tension generated by their membership in a national political party and the demands it makes for their loyalty and disciplined action with the demands generated by, and the articulated opinions of, the communities that county councillors represent. It will do this by exploring the attitudes of councillors towards the party of which they are a member and the demands of community representation and engagement.

In so doing the chapter will examine how county councillors as members of national political parties act as representatives, decision makers and governors at the county level, and the effects that party membership has on county-level local representation.

Publication Date Sep 21, 2015
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 163-178
Series Title Routledge Advances in European Politics
Book Title Policy Making at the Second Tier of Local Government in Europe: What is Happening in Provinces, Counties, D├ępartements and Landkreise in the On-Going Rescaling of Statehood?
ISBN 978-0415843485
Institution Citation Copus, C., Sweeting, D., & Oliver, T. (2015). The importance of political parties in county government. In X. Bertrana, B. Egner, & H. Heinelt (Eds.), Policy Making at the Second Tier of Local Government in Europe: What is Happening in Provinces, Counties, D├ępartements and Landkreise in the On-Going Rescaling of Statehood?, 163-178. Routledge
Keywords comparative politics, regional and local governance, local government, local politics, councillors, representation, political parties
Publisher URL https://www.routledge.com/products/9780415843485