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date: 26 September 2020


A Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics and International Relations
Jonathan BradburyJonathan Bradbury

A member of a legislature appointed to facilitate party organization within the legislature. Generally, parties will each appoint a chief whip with a team of junior whips. The term is derived from the ‘whipper in’ of English hunting parlance, whose role it is to keep the pack together in chasing its quarry. In the UK House of Commons the whips’ intentions are made clear by the weekly circulation of a document detailing important votes, three lines being scratched under an item indicating the whips’ strongest call for support. In many legislatures the job of the whips has expanded to take some responsibility for the management of the legislative timetable itself, as well as facilitating the communication of views between party leaders and back‐bench representatives. Whips also become the means through which opposing parties can communicate over the management of the work of the legislature. In the UK House of Commons this is known as the ‘usual channels’.... ...

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