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This is an interesting practice. Britain has the PM and ministers lined up facing their opposition "shadow" counterparts across the floor of the House, and sometimes the debate can be fierce. In France, the PM is only really called to account when making her/is opening policy speech (which François Fillon did this week), or if there's a censure motion (no-confidence). In neither case (UK or France) is there an obligation to respond to criticism and questions as in the procedure you describe, metavision. Thanks for telling us about it!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jul 5th, 2007 at 12:45:21 PM EST
I think the UK equivalent is not so much the regular Question Time sessions in the House of Commons, as the debate on the Queen's Speech (at the start of each, usually annual, session of Parliament).

The Queen's Speech is written by her Ministers and apart for some minor discussion of plans for state visits it sets out the outline of what the government hopes to do during the session.

There is then a multi-day debate in which first the Prime Minister and the party leaders (and even a few backbenchers) discuss the overall situation and then the Minister and opposition party spokesmen (and some more backbenchers) debate particular policy areas. At the end the House passes a motion thanking the Queen for her most gracious speech. Rejection of the motion would amount to a vote of no confidence in the government.

The Opposition parties also have some days during the session when they can raise whatever issue they want and get someone from the government to respond.

by Gary J on Fri Jul 6th, 2007 at 09:54:30 AM EST
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I imagine this debate is televised, so is it widely followed by the public?  

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Fri Jul 6th, 2007 at 02:59:27 PM EST
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The initial Queen's speech is televised by terrestrial television, with a lot of emphasis on the traditional costumes and ceremonial (I blogged the last State Opening of Parliament here, so people who know more than I do may be able to locate it).

As for the politicians speeches they are lucky to get a five second sound bite on the news. You may get the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition on BBC, but they usually cut away after a few minutes for round table discussions by politicians and journalists. This seems to be considered better television than the live event itself. You have to look at the Parliament Channel on cable or Freeview to see the whole debate.

by Gary J on Wed Jul 11th, 2007 at 07:34:03 AM EST
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Just click on your own user name to get a list of all your diaries.

Live blogging State Opening of UK Parliament by Gary J on November 15th, 2006

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 11th, 2007 at 07:36:08 AM EST
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Thanks for the guidance, Migeru.
by Gary J on Wed Jul 11th, 2007 at 10:03:04 AM EST
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