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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details for Professor Nick Vivyan

Vivyan, Nick & Wagner, Markus (2012). Do voters reward rebellion? The electoral accountability of MPs in Britain. European Journal of Political Research 51(2): 235-264.

Author(s) from Durham


To hold their Members of Parliament individually accountable for their legislative behaviour, British voters would need to base their decision to vote for an MP at least partially on the extent to which the MP's legislative voting behaviour deviated from that of the MP's party leadership. Voters should evaluate this deviation contingent on their views of the party leadership. MP rebellion can signal that voter–MP congruence is greater than that of the voter and the MP's party leadership. In this article it is found that only constituents with negative attitudes toward the Labour government reward rebellious Labour MPs, albeit to a limited extent. A similar conditional association is not observed on a single issue: Iraq. The policy accountability of MPs is relatively weak and general rather than issue-specific.