The majority of new laws or changes to existing laws come from government but the can also come from MP’s, Lords or even a member of the public. E.g. ‘Sarah’s Law’. Both the House of Commons and House of Lords must debate and vote on the proposals. 2.
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. This can be seen after the vote on tuition fees and the liberal democrats. Despite the fact that they had campaigned for this cause endlessly only 26 (including a few Conservatives) chose to vote against the bill. Whips play an important part in removing efficiency from Parliament. By having whips who ensure that MPs behave in accordance to the decisions of the executive both Parliaments ability to scrutinise and hold the executive to account is diminished, but also their role as representatives of their individual constituency is also compromised.
The principle organ of the US state is to legislate, represent and scrutinise the other, safely separated, branches of the government. First of the three elements in which Congress’s primary role plays is in legislation. The very first article of the Constitution lays out how this is done. Bills initiated by both the President and members of Congress are almost certain to be substantially modified as they go through the legislative process, making it very difficult for the President or any political faction to force through their policy agenda. Congress has been somewhat effective in passing laws such as the PATRIOTIC Act under Bush and the Healthcare Reform Act under Obama both show’s that Congress can legislate when it needs be, especially with a majority in both houses.
In 2010 backbenchers were threatening to rebel over tuition fees. This was enough to force concessions to be made so the rebellion wasn’t as large as expected. It could be said that they failed because the bill wasn’t defeated but in a way it was a success as changes were made. This shows that the image of being lobby fodder is being shaken off by the more outspoken MPs. It is difficult for a Backbench MP to influence government policy if a government has a large majority in Parliament.
The monarch also decided what Parliament discussed. When looking at Parliaments authority in the years 1485 – 1603 there are several important factors which can help to determine whether or not Parliament’s role and influence increased. The number of times the Parliament was called during each reign and used to pass legislation is important and can be used to explain how much influence Parliament had because the monarch was under no obligation to summon the body. However when looking at these factors they differ from reign to reign so it can be argued that the role and influence of Parliament did not increase smoothly and steadily as it depended on the monarch. The historian Chrimes describes Henry VII’s use of Parliament as ‘Little or nothing of much significance occurred in the history of Parliament in the reign of Henry VII’ However at the beginning of Henry VII’s reign the first Parliamentary session was of great importance to him as it acknowledged his claim to the throne.
This is because there are many stages which the bill must go through which includes the House of Lords stage by which the bill may be rejected or amended (this may only occur three times). The final stage in the Royal Ascent is the process by which the queen signs the bill. The Act of Parliament has now gone into the statute book and must now be obeyed by all citizens of the UK. Due to the large amount of time it takes to pass bills the House of Commons does not fulfil is function effectively. As well as this the leading party will always have the majority in parliament, meaning it will almost always be able to push through its legislation.
A government with a minority of seats in the Commons might however lose a vote of No Confidence and would then have to resign - this last happened to the minority Labour government of Callaghan in 1979. Parliament does, however, have important SCRUTINY functions. In other words, the executive (the prime minister and all other ministers) have to explain and justify their policies and actions to parliament. Ministers (by rotation) answer questions by backbenchers during the daily Question Time (both orally and in writing), while the prime minister answers questions every Wednesday. The oral questions are sometimes dominated by loyal backbench government supporters, and it is often suggested that the media provide a more effective form of scrutiny than does parliament.
Scrutiny of the Executive: As governments tend to enjoy large parliamentary majorities, Parliamentary approval is rarely withheld. However, the House of Commons plays an important role in scrutinising the policies and actions of the government, in debates, parliamentary questions and within the influential cross-party select committees. In this particular respect, Parliament is representing interests of different groups of public, ensuring therefore that there is no unnecessary discrimination during legislative process. Both primary and secondary sources of legislation are subject to scrutiny, including international and EU legislation as well. Parliament is not expected to make substantial changes to such legislation but it is able to issue some warning or advise government about such legislation to be implemented.
Common law, which has developed over many years becoming accepted due to court judgements. The laws and customs of Parliament re also a source of the constitution. Works of authority are also referred to as authoritative sources such as books by Dicey or Bagehot. Finally, European Union Law also impacts the UK constitution as the judgements of the European court of Justice, in general EU law has precedence over that passed by Parliament. A codified constitution is too inflexible and cannot adapt to the changing political circumstance, such as society changing.
Discuss the advantages of law making in Parliament There are many advantages within the law making system. One of the main advantages is that a law is made by our elected representatives, making it democratic. The House of Commons is an elected body which could potentially be changed every five years due to a general election, if the government has not performed as the public expected. However, the public vote in the MP’s within the House of Commons, therefore the HOC has the public’s support with certain decisions making it efficient. On the other hand, the House of Lords is not elected but is made up of a wide variety of people with different background and specialised expertise therefore allowing decisions that are made to be less biased and more thorough.