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CHAPTER VII
THE MEMBER AND HIS CONSTITUENTS

WHAT are the duties of a member of the house of commons ? By what obligations is he bound to the constituency by which he is returned and to the political party to which he is attached ? What kind of work is he expected to do, and what kind of life has he to lead? We may try to answer these questions, first by referring to some general principles, and then by giving a concrete illustration.
In November 1774 Edmund Burke was invited, on short notice, to stand for one of the two vacant seats at Bristol. He was a stranger to the place, but his colleague was a local gentleman of accommodating nature, who expressed his willingness to carry out any instructions which he might receive from his constituents. Burke was duly elected, and in his subsequent address to the electors he touched on the topic of instructions to members. This is what he said
" Certainly, gentlemen, it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest corre

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