The Westminster Model

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  • The Westminster Model
    • Features
      • The government is drawn from the House of Commons
      • The UK Parliament has unlimited legislative competence
      • Systems for ensuring ministers are accountable to Parliament
    • Description
      • UK is a parliamentary democracy and sovereignty rests with the crown in Parliament
      • Commons asserted right as representative body
      • Commons is pre-eminent authority - government must retain support of house - contests between parties
    • Accountability
      • Public authorities must explain actions and be subject to scrutiny
      • Elections
      • Parliamentary questions, debates, committees
      • Courts - judicial review - explain decisions
    • Problems
      • Government control of commons
        • Exclusive use of legislative process - controls timetable and agenda
      • Prime Ministerial government
        • Thatcher and Blair
      • Delegated Legislation - harder to scrutinize
      • Influence by EU Law
      • Public confidence crisis
        • Low turnout at elections - expenses scandals
    • Future of the Model
      • Reinvigorating the system
        • Reforms of the Commons
          • Parallel chamber means more time for debates
          • Publishing bills in draft form for better consultation and scrutiny
          • Election of select committee chairs by secret ballot
      • More emphasis on participation
        • Citizens juries discuss important issues
        • Duty to hold referendums on excessive council tax increases
        • Referendum if framework of EU changed
      • More legal constitution
        • Quashed delegated legislation
        • Detention of foreign nationals against ECHR


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