the functions of parliament


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The functions of parliament
Functions Limitations
Legitimation The House of the Lords is not elected
The commons is seen to be dominated
by the executive and therefore not
The electoral system means the
Commons is not politically
representative of the electorate
Deliberation Both Houses lack enough time to
consider bills thoroughly
Standing committees are whipped so fall
under government control
Lack of parliamentary time
Reserve powers Collective government responsibility
makes it difficult to examine
government decisions
The opposition lacks the administrative
back-up of the government
Delaying (House of Lords) Skilful ministers and civil servants can
evade questioning by MPs and peers
MPs and peers may lack expertise and
The power of patronage prevents
governing MPs and peers being hostile
or too inquisitive
There remains a good deal of
government secrecy especially in the
fields of defence, security and foreign
Financial control Parliament is traditionally not expected
to challenge government seriously in this
House of Lords has no jurisdiction at all
Representation The electoral system makes the
Commons highly unrepresentative
The House of Lords is not elected

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Both Houses are socially
unrepresentative, especially in terms of
women or social and ethnic background
Redress of grievances MPs lack time to deal with many
grievances of constituents
Private members legislation Little time is devoted to private
members legislation
Government is easily able to `kill' any
bills it opposes
It is difficult for MPs and peers to gather
enough support to force bills through
Reserve powers MPs of the governing party are
especially reluctant to use reserve
powers for fear of precipitating a
general election…read more


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