Last week I went to Copenhagen to visit the Folketing, the national parliament of Denmark. It is fascinating to see the many similarities and differences between the Folketing and the British parliament in Westminster. I was amused that the ‘Father of the House’, which is a role given to the longest serving member of parliament, is a title used in the Danish parliament as well as the British one.
The Folketing passes laws, approves the cabinet, and supervises the government. Whilst in the UK we have 650 members, in Denmark there are only 179 (which includes two from both Greenland and the Faroe Islands).
Most governments in Denmark since the second world war have been formed by a coalition. The largest party is not necessarily part of that coalition, as is the case with the current Danish government. This is unusual in the UK, however, not impossible. If for example, Theresa May wasn’t able to form a coalition with the DUP, then the Labour Party would have been invited to try and form a government.
The Folketing sits within the magnificent Christiansborg Palace. The building has a chamber where the members meet as well as some grand Royal Reception Rooms. In the UK, the House of Commons and House of Lords both sit within the palace of Westminster. Both parliaments have their respective monarch as head.
As you can imagine, the Danish parliament is the setting for many many speeches, and behind most of those speeches is a Speechwriter, frantically scribbling away. After receiving a tour of the parliament, I met my fellow Speechwriters from the Ministry of Children and Social Affairs and the Danish Agriculture & Food Council. Having written for the British Scottish and European parliaments, I always find it refreshing to get an insight into the operations of other parliaments across Europe.
After finishing all of the official business in Copenhagen I then had to rush away to Edinburgh for my next meeting. I’m now finally back in Cambridge with quite a bit of work to catch up on!