To What Extent Does Parliament Control Executive Power

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To what extent does parliament control executive power? (40 marks) A parliament is a body that has several roles, including legitimising legislation, passing laws, scrutinising or amending legislation, calling government to account and representing voters. Emphasis is placed that the government branch in the UK (the government) normally dominates the parliament due to various reasons such as high majorities, MPs loyalty to the party manifesto, influence of PM on MPs, existence of party whips and the limitations of the House of Lords. However, some may argue that the government does not have it all its own way as parliament can control the government in a number of ways including, dismissing large majoritarian governments, sovereignty of the parliament, public accountability, barriers set by select committees and the House of Lords. Parliament may face difficulties in controlling executive power as the government usually has an overall majority. This is especially the case when there has been a creation of a large majority after elections such as 1997 and 2001 with Labour majorities of 179 and 167 respectively. Majorities of 66 in 2005 and 83 with the coalition in 2010 have also been recorded. This allows the government to claim a mandate from the people for its policies when it is elected to power. Therefore the parliament lacks the legitimate right to ignore the mandate and tends to accept the government’s right to govern. However, despite large majorities, the House of Commons has the authority to dismiss a government through a vote of no confidence. For example, the 1979 vote of no confidence removed Prime Minister James Callaghan from office after a sustained period of industrial unrest and economic problems. This suggests that although government may be powerful, if it tests the limits and becomes autocratic or inefficient, parliament can take measures to
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