In the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Prime Minister and Members of Parliament participate in a session every Wednesday known as the Prime Minister's Question Time. For a half hour session of Parliament, the British Prime Minister answers questions from other Members of Parliament(MPs). The session takes place in the House of Commons and tends to be a noisy proceeding. Question Time allows opposition MPs to ask questions about Her Majesty's government and duties of the Prime Minister. Question Time is a political spectacle, as most questions are of political significance. The session also grants constituents an opportunity each week to examine parliamentary democracy in action.
The Prime Minister has historically always answered questions in the House of Commons. Question Time was not formal until 1961. Ever since, Question Time has been a focal point of British Parliament. A major difference between British and American politics is the separation versus the fusion of powers. In the U.K., The executive and legislative branches are assembled into one body of government. The Prime Minister is a legislator same as another member of Parliament. The same goes for the cabinet, they are MPs as well. The fusion of powers in Great Britain is embodied in Question Time.
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Question Time is heavily political. Throughout modern history, the occasional shouting match between politicians would accompany the Wednesday sessions. Since the 2016 Brexit Referendum, Question Time for Theresa May has been what defined her time as Prime Minister. The opposition heavily criticized her and the inability to make a deal with the EU. Some people may not like the quarrels and finger-pointing during Question Time. But in my eyes, it shows signs of a healthy democracy. Debate and discussion translate to a free and open society. If there is too much harmony and not enough hassle within the government, there may be cause for concern.
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The first Question Time session on television was in 1989. Margaret Thatcher was the first Prime Minister to participate in that session. The British media heavily covers the sessions. Three BBC affiliates cover Question Time live from the House Of Commons. In the United States, the easiest way to access is to stream it online through C-Span. If Americans want only a taste of British politics, Question Time is the destination. Even a small amount of exposure to a different form of government can illuminate the mind and even inspire the common observer.
David Cameron's final Prime Minister's Questions (highlights) BBC Newswww.youtube.com
An American form of Question Time is certainly conceivable. Sunday morning shows such as "Face the Nation" and "Meet the Press" come close. But it is not the same as the iteration across the Atlantic. Envision a full session of Congress, in which the President of the United States answers questions from other elected officials. An American version of Question Time could also find its way to state and local governments. A governor can answer questions. Or a mayor. Or a village president. In an age where politicians use Twitter and the internet daily, what better way to illustrate a representative democracy than this? The Prime Minister's Question Time is certainly worth one viewing, especially for those who have not even heard of it.