backbench

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From back + bench.

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

backbench ‎(plural backbenches)

  1. (politics, UK, New Zealand, often attributive) In a house of legislature following the model of the Westminster system (such as the UK House of Commons), any bench behind either of the front benches and occupied by rank-and-file members.
    His spacious quarters indicate his transition from backbench upstart to established member of the governing team.
    • 1963, Richard L. Sklar, Nigerian Political Parties: Power in an Emergent African Nation, 2004, page 400,
      There was no separate back-bench organization ; indeed there were no back-bench caucuses in any Nigerian Legislative House, and any attempt to create one would probably have been regarded by the leadership concerned as a subversive move.
    • 1995, R. L. Borthwick, Churchill to Major: The British Prime Ministership Since 1945, page 153,
      Both Thatcher's and Major's PPSs developed the role of trying to see that those members considered loyal to the leadership won the main positions on backbench party committees.
    • 1997, David Campbell Docherty, Mr. Smith Goes to Ottawa: Life in the House of Commons,
      In fall 1984, Brian Mulroney led a cabinet with far more political experience than the Conservative backbench.
    • 2009, John Coakley, Michael Gallagher, Politics in the Republic of Ireland, page 301,
      In situations of low ministerial turnover and increased professionalisation of politics, with most TDs regarding politics as a career, Taoisigh could find that impatience on the backbenches leads to calls for leadership turnover to effect promotions.

Related terms[edit]