A backbencher is a Member of Parliament or a legislature who does not hold governmental office and is not a Front Bench spokesperson in the Opposition. A backbencher may be a new parliamentary member yet to receive high office, a senior figure dropped from government, or someone who for whatever reason is not chosen to sit either in the cabinet or the opposition Shadow Cabinet.
In most parliamentary systems, backbenchers individually do not have much power to influence government policy. However, they are important in providing services to their constituents and in relaying the opinions of their constituents. In addition, backbenchers collectively can sometimes exercise considerable power especially in cases where the policies of the government are unpopular or when a governing party is internally split.
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