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By Christoffer Green-Pedersen, Stefaan Walgrave
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Extra info for Agenda Setting, Policies, and Political Systems: A Comparative Approach
Nonetheless, the two main parties survive as the key electoral machines for national and local level elections: they win the most seats and usually obtain a working majority in the House of Commons. The governing party is able to enact most of its program through Parliament (Bevan, John, and Jennings 2011) and implement its manifesto pledges (Hoﬀerbert and Budge 1992; Bara 2005), having access to ministerial and prerogative powers like their predecessors. Nor does party control of policy alter much when a coalition is elected into oﬃce, as happened in May 2010, when the Conservative Party and Liberal Democrats pa rt y p ol i ti c s an d the p ol i c y a g e n da | 23 formed a new government.
The peak period for coverage was the early 1970s, but aggressive statute making declined only with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. After a brief rise during the early years of Bill Clinton’s administration, the 42 | j o n e s a n d w h y m a n covered lawmaking agenda collapsed in the late 1990s and remained muted throughout the period of study. On the face of it, the pattern suggests lower levels of lawmaking during Republican administrations. The Distribution of Lawmaking Attention By associating the number of lines of CQ coverage with laws, we have generated a measure of attention to the lawmaking activity associated with successful statutes.
The traditional framework of British politics has become more complex since the 1990s, which might appear to reduce the autonomy of the executive and the party in government. These changes include increasing numbers of rebellions by MPs against their party whips (Cowley 2005); the growing assertiveness of members of the House of Lords (Russell and Sciara 2007); greater regional autonomy from the devolution of power to governments in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland; the ceding of decision making to the European Union; and the growing power of the higher courts since the passing of the Human Rights Act in 1998, reinforced by the creation of the Supreme Court in 2009.