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Parliament Essay

2584 words - 11 pages


Parliament = the legislature. It is main way in which citizens are represented. It controls the power of the government, forcing it to be accountable. Above all, Parliament exists to grant formal consent to legislation even though it is dominated by the government.
Features of a Parliamentary Government:
* Parliament is the highest source of political authority – political power has to be authorised by Parliament
* Government has to be drawn from Parliament
* No strict separation of powers between legislative and executive – fusion of powers
* Government must be accountable to Parliament
Features of a Presidential Government:
* Legislature ...view middle of the document...

However, results are not technically binding
* ECHR is not binding but they do treat it as higher authority
* Devolution has taken power away from Westminster Parliament

The three main parts of Parliament:
House of Commons | House of Lords | The Monarch |
* All Mps elected by the citizens in the General Election – each MP represents their own constituency | * All of the peers * Nominated experts in their field * PM has a large say in who becomes a peer | * King/Queen at the time * Less power now, but still have the final sign-off and on peerages |

* Basic structure:
* HoC = lower house
* HoL = upper house
* Queen-in-Parliament = ceremonial role

* The different roles:
Shared functions | House of Commons only | House of Lords only |
* Granting formal consent to legislation * Calling government to account * Scrutinising proposed legislation and amending it where necessary * Debating key issues * Representing the interests of different sections of society | * Granting popular consent to proposed legislation * Refusing to approve items of legislation which are undesirable * Representing the interests of constituencies * Bringing attention to the grievances of individual constituents | * Deliberating at length on important issues * Providing specialist expert advice on proposed legislation * Delaying legislation, forcing government to reconsider |

* Composition and structure of the House of Commons:
* 650 MPs
* Frontbench MPs – prominent members of the political parties who tend to sit on the benches in the centre of the chamber: made up of ministers of the government and leading members of the other parties
* Backbench MPs – all the other MPs who do not have a ministerial position post and/or who are not senior members of their party
* The Speaker – elected by all MPs and must become politically neutral: keeps order and organises the business of the House in conjunction with the party leaderships. The speaker is also concerned with the conduct of MPs and may discipline them
* Legislative committees – examine proposed laws and put forward amendments
* Department select committees – permanent check for efficiency of government departments
* Public Accounts Committee – examines government finances
* Whip offices – respected MPs who’s role is to inform MPs who’s role is to inform MPs about the business of the house, ensure MPs turn up when required

* Composition and structure of the House of Lords:
* Life Peers
* Hereditary Peers
* 25 Bishops/Archbishops from Church of England
* Socially Homogeneous

* Committees:
Committee | Roles | Strengths | Weaknesses |
House of Commons departmental select committees | * Investigate the work of government for efficiency and effectiveness * Consider major departmental policies * Consider proposed legislation * Investigate matters of public concern *...

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