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Government & Politics Unit 2

Constitution
o Codified Constitution
Advantages & Disadvantages
Features
o Uncodified Constitution
Advantages & Disadvantages
Features
o Is Parliament Sovereign?
Arguments For and Against
o Strengths and Weaknesses of the UK's constitution
o Constitutional Reforms ­ Coalition and 1997-2010
What are they?
Are they effective?

PM…

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Constitution:

2 Types of Constitution

Codified & Uncodified

Codified Constitution

Constitution where the rules are written down in a single document. Example could be the
USA. Creates a series of checks and balances for government, and also a separation of
powers. Creates entrenchment, and is rigid (difficult to amend), and…

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An ungrouped set of governing rules that comes from a variety of sources. The UK is an example of
one; its sources of its uncodified constitution are as follows:

Books of Constitutional Relevance eg such as by A.V.Dicey
Statue Law (as made by Parliament)
Common Law (made by judges ­…

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Yes:

Said to be legally sovereign
o Source of all political power
o Exercises power because that power is granted by Parliament
o Parliament can take back any powers devolved as with the case of the Northern
Ireland Assembly.
o Parliament can make any law it wishes. There are no…

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Strengths:

Flexibility
o Constitution is organic ­ rooted in society not separate from society
o So when society, needs and values change ­ the constitution can also change without
undue upheaval.
o Examples ­authority of British monarchy gradually declined to be replaced by
elected bodies ­ power simply shifted away…

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Uncertainty
o Critics say it is difficult to know what the constitution says.
o There is confusion around many because they are not fixed ­ especially around
conventions
Eg ­ Ministerial responsibility ­ which says that a minister should take
responsibility for blunders made in their department ­ yet not…

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1997-2010

Reform of House of Lords (removal of hereditary Peers)
Introduction of Human Rights Act
Greater use of Referenda
Devolution
Electoral Reform ­ PR systems for devolved assemblies
Abolition of the Role of Lord Chancellor

Good ­

Greater Democratization
Greater Decentralisation

Bad ­

No Clear Focus ­ piecemeal reform ­…

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Features & Functions of the PM

What must a politician be to become a PM
o Leader of his Party
o MP (could technically also be a Lord, but this has not happened since the 1890s
o Have majority control in the commons (can also have minority control such as…

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Depends upon the Prime Minister's own personality, and also factors at the time such as
events, size of party majority, and popularity of party leader. However there is a
conventional view of power which includes the following issues:
o Power of Patronage - Ability to hire and fire who they…

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Presidential in Spirit
o Can't be president as the constitution doesn't have a system of presidential
government eg No separation of powers. And a president has an independent
legislature and sounding board cabinet and a formal, personal department

Yes:

Growth of Spatial Leadership
o Tendency of PM's to distance themselves…

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