Usual channels

Usual channels

Usual channels is a term used in British politics to describe the relationship between the Whips of the Government and the Opposition. Essentially, this is to obtain co-operation between the two parties, in order to ensure as much business as possible can be dealt with in each parliamentary session.

Negotiations in the "usual channels" take place daily, with key roles being played by unelected civil servants such as the private secretary to the Chief Whip. They play a key role in determining how the time in each House of Parliament is spent, as well as how Select Committees should be composed, and who should chair them.

In 2002, a report by the Hansard Society published a report entitled "Opening Up The Usual Channels" (ISBN 0 900432 86 1), which concluded that the Commons would benefit from greater transparency if the system were to be replaced by a formal "business committee" as used in some other administrations.


* [ BBC News: Behind the scenes at Westminster] 11th December, 2002

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