Page last updated at 16:10 GMT, Thursday, 7 August 2008 17:10 UK
Backbench committees

Both the Labour and Conservative parties in Parliament have a number of backbench committees.

These committees meet regularly to discuss particular areas of policy and are considered to play an important role in keeping party leaderships informed of backbench opinion.

Both Labour and Conservative politicians have a number of regional backbench committees too.

These more localised gatherings allow MPs to discuss issues relevant to their region.

Historically the most famous and powerful backbench committee has been the Conservative Party's 1922 Committee, of which all Conservative backbenchers are members.

Labour's backbench committees are known as departmental groups and regional groups.

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