Government Policies Hand-out 1. Parliament: The role of parliament is a necessary part of UK politics. Parliament has to scrutinise the work of government, they do this by questioning the government ministers and having debates to view the proposed laws and amendments to legislation. Decisions are often made via a vote. Smaller groups will look at specific policy issues and legislation in detail.
Parliament is almost the only source of legislation. When a party wins the general election, a government is formed consisting of various parties. This government then makes laws that become acts of parliament, the legislation, if having been passed by parliament. Most bills that are passed by parliament are government bills, however, some bills that are passed through parliament are private members bills, for example, the abolition of hanging in 1967 by Sydney Silverman. There are also private bills which normally only affect certain private interests and can be introduced by MPs, usually on behalf of a company.
Although we are currently in a coalition the government still has a majority through the combination of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. This therefore often renders opposition as a form of scrutiny meaningless and also means that it is difficult for the executive to be held to account. Party loyalty is also very strong. The power of prime ministerial patronage renders many MPs excessively docile and loyal, hence the term ‘lobby fodder’. With the rise in the professional politician many prefer to remain loyal in order to gain power and move up in the hierarchy as opposed to become a rebel who remains in the back benchers.
The government need to be able to rely on the MPs support for bills in parliament and regardless of the majority, there could more than 200 backbench MPs that need to be organised by a political party. The main sources of power that political parties have are through committees, debates, the voting system, the whipping system, and through scrutiny. Each of these plays a huge role in enabling political parties to exercise their power in parliament. The most evident source of power that political parties have in parliament is through the whipping system. Each party has a chief whip, a deputy chief whip and a number of junior whips.
Assemblies which are also known as parliaments or legislatures provide a key role in government. They act as national debating chambers and public forums in which government polices and major issues can be discussed and analysed. In most cases they are invested with formal law-making power giving them some capacity to shape and influence public policy. However, assemblies have been criticised by Heywood (2002, p. 311) as being no more than “talking shops” that do little more than rubber stamp decisions that have effectively been made elsewhere. This essay will firstly discuss how parliamentary and presidential systems differ, the different types of legislature and their main functions.
Analyse the view that the Labour and Conservative parties are dominated by their respective leaders. In recent years there has been much debate as to whether party leaders have too much power over their parties. Many do believe that the two main party leaders in the UK do not dominate their parties as the structure of their party does not allow them to do so, but many more believe that party leaders have great authority over their parties and are fully committed to driving their parties policy with little delegation or use of their cabinet ministers. Historically the Conservative Party leader has been more powerful than the Labour Party leader. People believe this is down to the party’s history; the Labour Party originated from the trade union movement at the turn of the 20th century and originally had a chairman of the Labour MPs in the House of Commons, but no leader.
There are many other bills in the house that need to be given a rule and the committee continues to focus its endeavors to favor the party that already has most of the power in the house. The house rules committee was not originally intended to be a key tool for the majority party. It was meant to increase productivity and allow the house to operate more smoothly. A democratic aid even mentioned that
Parliamentary sovereignty is the most important part of the UK constitution. People often refer to the UK having an 'unwritten constitution' but that's not strictly true, large parts of it are written down, much of it in the laws passed in Parliament - known as statute law. Therefore, the UK constitution is often described as 'partly written and wholly uncodified' (Uncodified means that the UK does not have a single, written constitution.). Over the years, Parliament has passed laws that limit parliamentary sovereignty. These laws reflect political developments both within and outside the UK.
At a glance it is obvious that a major part of UK democracy is parliamentary democracy as this is our chosen form of government, having the houses of parliament which consist of the house of commons and the house of lords. In the UK we have the government which is drawn from parliament as well as the monarchy who are now concerned primarily with ceremonial roles within governing the country. However it is key to note that although the monarchy does have a part in the governing of the UK it is not elected and so this damages the argument of the UK being fully democratic. However the majority of parliament is elected at least. In the UK parliament all members of the house of commons are elected in free and fair elections by their local
In addition to that, Parliament also has the function of scrutinising and challenging the government on its legislative proposals as well as on a broader, more general level. It has been argued that this is Parliament’s most important function, rather than maintaining it in office. With regards to this point of view, an analysis of the present mechanisms of scrutiny and challenge used by Parliament and their effectiveness offers an insight into its validity. To begin with, Parliament, as the state legislature, plays a role in scrutinising government legislative proposals. Each bill has to go through First reading, Second reading, Committee stage, Report stage and Third reading in both the Commons and Lords.