Westminster Bubble

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The Westminster Bubble (also called the Westminster village) is a characterization of members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom as being isolated from life outside Parliament. This includes Members of Parliament, Peers, lobbyists, researchers, secretaries, civil servants, lobby correspondents and leader writers for newspapers and is so named because Parliament is located in Westminster, London.

A similar situation occurs in the United States, where the governmental culture in and around Washington DC is sometimes known as the Washington Bubble or more often Inside the Beltway. More recently, in Scotland, there has been a development of a "Holyrood bubble", as the Scottish Parliament is in the Holyrood district of Edinburgh.

A recent example of the characterization includes Peter Hain speaking in the House on 29 January 2004:

"All broadcasters, the whole coverage of politics, the Westminster bubble that we as politicians of the Government and Opposition occupy together with the Westminster lobby; together we are all conducting politics in a way that is turning off voters, listeners, readers and watchers by the million."

In July the previous year he had described it in a newspaper article as:

"That politically incestuous world occupied by politicians, government and opposition, together with the media. Politicians, news broadcasters and journalists now form a 'political class' which is in a frenzied world of its own, divorced from the people, and which is turning off viewers, listeners and readers from politics by the million.".

In November 2003 Conservative Party Leader Michael Howard indicated on the day of his appointment that he wished to be a "leader outside the Westminster Bubble."

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