It was the year that the House of Commons bit back. After parliament’s long spell stuck in the expenses mire, MPs showed in 2011 that they are starting to reassert themselves vigourously against the executive. As James Forsyth points out on page 4, Tory backbenchers have particularly relished giving the government a series of bloody noses on Europe.
The stresses and strains of coalition, combined with the formidable new intake from the 2010 election starting to find their feet, certainly made for a much more self-confident institution. The judges of the Spectator Threadneedle Parliamentarian of the Year Awards viewed this, naturally, as a positive development.
But in choosing an outsider as Politician of the Year, someone who used to sit in Commons but who now runs his own devolved majority administration in Edinburgh, the judges of the Spectator/Threadneedle Parliamentarian of the Year Awards acknowledged that Westminster is far from getting everything its own way. As Alan Cochrane writes on page 13, Alex Salmond sweeps all before him and is confident of taking Scotland independent. If he succeeds, and the Scots leave, parliament will be diminished.
— Iain Martin
Review of the year
Editor Iain Martin Cover and illustrations Kyle T. Webster
The 2011 winners 8
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Pictures from an institution
Legislators through a lens
Hail the Dear Leader
Drinks on the House
Parliamentary Barometer 15
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