Parliament UK

  • Created by: ljoy1801
  • Created on: 17-04-19 08:39
View mindmap
  • Parliament
    • Functions
      • The law-making body of the UK.
        • However, aside from private members bills, most bills are drawn up by the govt in advance
      • Scrutinise and check the government
      • Represent the people (MPs will represent their constituency
      • An important place for debate, especially in time of crisis or emergency
    • Scrutiny
      • Prime Ministers Questions
        • Gives the opposition leader publicity eg Blair 'weak, weak, weak'
        • Allow unwelcome questions to be asked of the PM and ministers and highlight weakness eg Brown 'we not only saved the world' rather than the banks
        • Keep the PM and Ministers on their toes. Blair often said it was the most nerve-wracking thing he had to do
        • Can often turn into a slanging match between leaders and behaviour is bad. Bercow wrote to party leaders in 2014 asking them to help moderate behaviour.
          • Accusations of planted questions. Cameron was accused of this and said he did it to highlight the strengths of the Tory government
            • On the whole, most questions are designed to catch out the opposition or praise their own party
      • Debates
        • Allow free expression and opinions about issues of the day
        • Televised and public which improves transparency in parliament
          • Could change how a Peer or MP vote
        • Used as an opportunity to just further an MPs career through speeches
          • Few minds are changed during PMQs as most vote on the party line
      • Select Committees
        • Less partisan and confrontational than debates and questions in the main chamber
          • Chaired by an MP from the opposition. The powerful Public Accounts Committee, which scrutinises value for money in govt departments, is chaired by a backbencher from the opposition (Meg Hillier in 2018)
            • Can call witnesses both from the government and outside Westminster to give evidence
              • Government are given a report which they have to respond to within 60 days. Some are taken on by the government eg child obesity report 2018 taken on by the government
        • Governing party always has a majority on each committee
          • Minority and majority reports are often written because committees cannot reach a consensus
            • Governments can ignore reports. For example, they ignored the report suggesting a ban on pesticides in 2013
      • Scrutiny of draft legislation and voting on the final bill
        • Enables bills to be properly checked, amended and discussed
          • Parliament are able to reject bills set out by the government
        • Strong party loyalty and discipline mean a government bill stands little chance of failing. Throughout a 10-year premiership, only 4 of Blair's bills failed
          • The governing party has a majority on each public bill committee (temporary committees set up to scrutinise bills), meaning any changes to the bill are likely to be minor
      • Votes of no confidence
        • The nuclear option which can bring down a government
        • Even the most rebellious MPs will stay loyal in these votes and are likely to fail. The last one to succeed was 1979
    • Parliamentary debate and the legislative process
      • The topic for debates are usually decided by the government. However, 20 days a year are set out for the Opposition to decide what will be debated
      • Most parliamentary bills are debated at the second reading stage
      • Public bills are measures that apply to all people and organisations
        • Private bills are usually promoted by organisations such as councils and private businesses to give themselves powers beyond existing laws
          • They only change the law for specific people or organisations eg the New Southgate Cemetery Act 2017
        • Private members bills are public bills which are introduced by backbenchers or Peers. Not likely to pass - only 8 have between 2011 and 2018
    • The Legislative Process
      • First Reading: formally introduced to Parliament. No debate or vote
      • Second Reading: main opportunity for debate. Amendments proposed and voted on. Some bills defeated here eg Brexit Bill - gave Parliament the final say on Brexit
      • Committee stage: go over the bill and amendments. Done in public bill committee.
      • Report stage: changes at committee stage discussed and voted on. Last chance to suggest amendments
      • Third reading: short debate. Final vote before royal assent given
    • Models of representation
      • Burkean/trustee model: entrust the MP to act in their constituents best interest eg. David Nuttall voting against gay marriage and adoption due to his own beliefs
      • Delegate model: voting/ representing the views of constituents primarily eg John McDonnell opposing Heathrow new runway as it affected his constituents even though Labour proposed it
      • Mandate theory: voting with the party the MP belongs to. Considering many MPs were elected as an MP for their party and not as independents, many stick to this model.
    • Role and Influence of MPs and Peers
      • Shared powers: voting on legislation, sitting in committees, serve in government or in a shadow cabinet, contribute to debates, introduced private members' bills, use parliamentary privilege
      • MPs sole powers: constituency work, present redress of grievances, undertake back bench rebellions, have key roles in choosing the leader of their party
      • Peers sole powers: come from a wide range of backgrounds eg law and teaching and therefore offer more specialist knowledge to debates, maintaining independence (cross benchers), revising and advising on legislation
    • The work of different committees
      • Public bill committees
        • Temporary. Used in committee stage of legislative process. Ensure bills are properly written. MPs, peers and interest groups can lobby for changes.
      • Commons select committees
        • Provide more general oversight of the workings of government and ministers actions. Less party political and partisan as it encourages consensus, most chaired by opposition members, select areas of investigation and call for witnesses. All members are backbenchers, chairs not elected by whips
      • Lords select committees
        • Currently cover the EU, communications, science and tech, economic affairs, international relations, the constitution. Governing party does not have a majority
      • Public accounts committee (Commons only)
        • Chaired by experienced backbencher eg Meg Hillier, scrutinises value for money and how well govt delivers on public services
      • Backbench Business Committee (commons only)
        • Selects topics for debates in parliament for days not given to government business, oversees E-Petitions. Topics such as Yemen conflict discussed.
    • How effective and significant are select committees?
      • Around 40% of recommendations are accepted by the government
      • Around 1/3 of the suggestions for major change are accepted
      • Chairs salaries are equal to junior ministers
      • High profile cases include phone hacking by News of the World and zero-hour contracts at Sports Direct
    • Government control of civil servants
      • Osmotherly rules: guidance given to civil servants before they appear at committees. Last updated in October 2014
      • Original Osmotherly rules allowed for servants to be vague in their answers. When updated, they are now asked to be helpful and honest and accurate in information given.
      • In 2016, the Home Affairs Select Committee ejected Oliver Robbins for failing to give helpful and accurate answers on the UK's border force.

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar Government & Politics resources:

See all Government & Politics resources »See all Parliament resources »