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This paper is the outcome of a joint project between the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and Global Partners and Associates to examine and suggest an alternative approach to traditional parliamentary strengthening programmes, one which seeks to engage deeper with the political context in which parliaments operate and to incentivise political reform. The paper argues that the purpose of all parliamentary support projects is to change political behaviour. An effective parliament depends on the willingness and ability of MPs and staff to use their powers to the full. Yet in every parliament there is a gap between the institution’s theoretical power and how it is used in practice. What gets in the way is almost always to do with the political incentives that shape behaviour.

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