backbench

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See also: back-bench

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

back +‎ bench

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

backbench (plural backbenches)

  1. (politics, Britain, 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[1], 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]