At PMQs yesterday, Mark Reckless asked his first question since his re-election as a UKIP MP (it is worth noting that this is not the first UKIP question at PMQs – this came from Douglas Carswell on 15 October 2014 – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-29631575). He was heckled and Speaker John Bercow needed to intervene to calm the House, and when Reckless stood to speak again, he was once again heckled.
This provides us with great evidence for one key question – does Parliament fulfil it’s functions? One of the key functions of Parliament is to scrutinise the Government. The most public arena in which this happens is the weekly PMQs, with MPs from any party able to hold the PM and Government to account. However, the extent to which PMQs is successful at this is questionable. There is no outcome from PMQs – the worst that could be expected is the PM comes out of this half hour dreadfully embarrassed in the UK media, but little more than this. Indeed, PMQs could be likened to a circus, but not one put on for the public; rather it is a show that aids party unity – certainly this is what the display against Mark Reckless seems to suggest. If that is the case, and given the lack of actual power to act upon PMQ’s, it could be argued that while outwardly this seems to be Parliament fulfilling it’s functions, in reality, it is all bark, and no bite.