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GCE
Government and Politics
Unit 2 - Edexcel




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The Constitution
Nature of the constitution

The role of a constitution:

Constitutions have the following functions:

They establish the distribution of power within a political system.
They establish the relationships between political institutions and individuals.
They define and establish the limits of government power.
They specify the rights of individual…

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Codified and uncodified constitution

A codified constitution has the following features:

It is written in a single document.
It is therefore said to have a single source.
Constitutional laws are superior to other laws, a feature known as `dualism'
Special arrangements exist to establish new constitutional laws, amend existing ones…

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It also means the ultimate source of political power.
Legal sovereignty refers to the power to make laws. It is where power lies theoretically.
Political sovereignty refers to the location of power in very general terms. It is where power lies in
reality.
When sovereignty is located in an institution…

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European Union treaties The UK has signed a number of The Maastricht Treaty of 1992 and
treaties, mostly concerning the Lisbon (Reform) Treaty of 2007 both
transfer of power and transferred power from the UK to
sovereignty from the UK to the the EU
EU.
Works of authority These are…

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There is a lack of separation of powers. This means that the executive and legislative branches are
not separated from each other and that the executive and legislative branches are not separated
from each other and that the executive (government) dominates the legislature (Parliament)







Sovereignty and the Constitution
Where does…

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A way of making people sovereign other than an Referendum
election


How has sovereignty in the UK changed since 1997?

Although legal sovereignty undoubtedly lies with the UK Parliament, sovereignty in a more general sense has
moved. These are the ways it has charged since Labour began to reform the…

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***Typical Mistake***It is wrong to say the UK constitution is unwritten. In fact, most of it today is written. The
key point is that it is not codified: that is, written in a single document or source. Be careful not to write
`unwritten' when you mean `uncodified'.

In favour of…

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system was removed from control by the Lord Chancellor and a new Judicial Appointments Commission was
set up to ensure judicial independence.

Why did Labour reform the constitution?

Labour was keen to reform the constitution for a number of reasons.

Modernisation. The constitution looked out of date and out of…

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Key changes

Government has been decentralised through devolution and the introduction of elected mayors.
Rights are better protected through the Human Rights Act and the Freedom of Information Act.
The House of Lords has, arguably, become a more effective check on the power of government.
The electoral systems of Scotland,…

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