Votes and Expenses from Inside Out: Who (exactly) is Watching Parliament?

Ben Worthy*, Cat Morgan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The idea of democratic monitoring or surveillance goes back to Bentham and links to ideas of monitory democracy, participatory democracy or Between Election Democracy (see Rosanvallon 2008: Keane 2018). The growth of new tools of surveillance and access to information has given rise to suite of new tools and data. However, there is key democratic problem of who is using them, in terms of the biased use and inequality, so voices are crowded out or distorted, and who is picking up the data and with what intent. Does use and distribution create new opportunities of further reinforce inequalities around ‘elite’ access and elites monitoring elites? This paper draws on a study of the monitoring of the UK Parliament to offer new data on who is using these new tools. Broadly, most users are part of an ‘elite’ club, though data is used and filters out to wider groups in various way. However, much depends on the nature of the data itself and how it is adopted, with different groups clustering around different data, depends on how data circulates or moves between groups and outwards. The use by a mixture of ‘insider’ elite groups and ‘outsider’ populists means the data helps create both ‘policy’ and ‘process’ narratives about politics.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2022
Event72nd Political Studies Association Annual International Conference - York, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Apr 202213 Apr 2022


Conference72nd Political Studies Association Annual International Conference
Abbreviated titlePSA22
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • parliament
  • Power
  • democracy


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