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Prime Minister's questions as political ritual

Palgrave Macmillan
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  • Politics
  • Political Science


This article contends that Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) are a political ritual that supports a gender regime in the House of Commons. After a brief description of PMQs their context and nature are discussed from the standpoints of participants and observers. Then new evidence of the attitudes of MPs and the public is presented in which differences between women and men are analysed and discussed. These findings challenge the notion that PMQs are off-putting to the public, especially women, but show that many MPs are ambivalent, women more than men. The conclusions discuss these unexpected findings and assess their significance to the political representation of women and the nature of parliamentary politics.

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