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Commons Knowledge: How to be a Backbencher

Commons Knowledge: How to be a Backbencher

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Most MPs do not achieve the great offices of State; some do not aspire to them. As backbenchers they have an influential role in the making of legislation, the conduct of government and the welfare of their political party. Commons Knowledge makes the case for the active, rigorous backbench MP.

From taking the oath to resigning, it offers advice for new and veteran backbenchers alike. Wise and witty, the informative narrative is an invaluable guide to what can be achieved by backbenchers - invaluable to would-be MPs and essential for constituents who want to know what their MP ought to be doing. Thirty-three sub-species of backbencher are identified, including the 'Trough-Diver', the 'Mantra Chanter', and the 'World Conscience'.

From surviving the Speaker to walking on water; from running a campaign to doughnutting; from dealing with the tabloids to staying married, Paul Flynn's survey of back-bench life explains all.

"An outstanding parliamentarian"
Tony Blair

"Parliament's busiest MP"
The Independent

"The thinking man's Dennis Skinner"
Simon Hoggart

Paul Flynn MP was the Spectator Backbencher of the Year, 1996. His work on social and transport legislation is much admired, while his forthright views on the constitution, sleaze, drugs (legal and illegal), and the mis-selling of pensions are well known.