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.
Like presidents, modern prime ministers can generate different political resources through these different roles and the techniques required by them. At the same time and in similar fashion to presidential politics, prime ministers are increasingly monitored and assessed according to criteria that are quite different to those experienced by senior colleagues, also like Presidents a modern day prime minister is often voted in due to factors that have nothing/ little to do with their political agendas, for example in 1997 Tony Blair
Due to the increasing presidential style of recent prime ministers and the party loyalty of the executive one can consider Parliament’s control of executive power minimal. However, due to the development of independent bodies surrounding Select Committees and the delaying of legislation by the House of Lords it can still be argued to be effective. The government usually has an overall majority. This is due to our voting system of FPTP which gives preference to the two main parties, normally giving them majorities (and increasingly large ones) as opposed to coalitions and minority governments which are produced through other voting systems such as AV in Scotland and Wales. Although we are currently in a coalition the government still has a majority through the combination of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
However the executive power can and has to be constrained to ensure a more democratic system of governance. It could be argued that in the US the executive has limited power on the domestic front whereas the UK executive is less constrained and appears to have significant power in most areas of political life. It is perhaps useful to start with saying what executive branches are made of in both liberal democracies that are being examined. In the UK the core executive includes the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and its committees, the Prime Minister’s office and the Cabinet Office. In the US the executive branch is associated with the President, the Vice President, Executive Departments, and Agencies.
Although different in nature, congress and the President of the United States both hold positions of upmost power and unequivocally important decision-making for the American people. However, the argument always stands: who has more power? The power problem as it stands “...is the need to grant government enough power to effectively address the problems that people expect government to solve, while also limiting power so that it can be held accountable” (Katznelson, Kesselman, Draper, p.42). Far from perfect, the political system in place attempts to grant both Congress and The President exclusive and shared responsibilities to provide an equal spread of power. Upon founding of the United States government, not all three branches were to share the same amount of power.
How far do you agree that the role and influence of Parliament increased steadily throughout the years 1485-1603? Tudor Parliaments were an essential aspect of English government and administration in the Tudor period. Parliament was needed by the monarch in order to pass legislation, to secure the power of the monarch, to be a point of contact between the Crown and nation and most importantly for finance by raising money through taxation in exceptional circumstances for example in times of war. However it can be argued that the role and influence of Parliament was limited at this time due to a number of factors; The most important being the monarch had the royal prerogative and power over Parliament as they chose when Parliament was called, prorogued and was dissolved. The monarch also decided what Parliament discussed.
To What Extent Are Backbench MPs Lobby Fodder? We’re led to believe that the MPs we elect to form Parliament actively participate in the governing of our country. Yet in reality, most of the power lies with the executive and the influence of a backbencher is thus lessened. Are they a loyal party drone? Do they represent the constituents effectively?
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.
If Dicey’s theory is placed in historical context, it was produced in a very different political environment to today. Political parties were not dominant then as they are today and their influence has greatly increased. The executive branch of government is much more dominant today and international influences have changed over the years. The development of the European Union has placed Britain under many constraints. Government has also grown since the decade that Dicey was writing as Laws are made
Parliament is Britain's Legislature, where legislation, the process of passing new laws, takes place. It is mainly carried out in the House of Commons and there are many different types of it, with the two most important being; government bills and private members bills. For a bill to become law is must pass through a number of parliamentary stages, which involves a lot of close reading, amending and debating in both the parliamentary chambers, however the House of Commons has far more legislative power, as the Lords can only suggest amendments or delay bills from becoming law (which the House of Commons can actually override anyway). It can be said the Commons fulfil the function of legislation effectively for various reasons, one being; because its large majorities makes it very efficient. Party's can rely on their loyal MPs to vote in favour of their bills, for example; from 1997-2005 Blair's government didn't lose a single vote in the House of Commons because he had such a high majority.