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Politics Unit 2 revision

The UK Constitution

A constitution is a set of laws on how a country is governed and the British
Constitution is an uncodified and unentrenched constitution because there is a
different number of sources of the constitution and it is flexible and open to
change to…

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Sources of the British Constitution

1) Statutes such as the Human Right Act in 1998 and the Scotland Act in 1998
2) Laws (Historical law such as individual rights) and Customs of Parliament
3) Political conventions (unwritten rules that are generally followed by those
involved in politics such as collective…

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1997: 2 referendums to decide whether power should be devolved to Scotland and
Wales (Devolution)

1998: a referendum in northern Ireland to determine whether an autonomous,
power-sharing government should be established there.

1998: a referendum to decide whether London should have its own elected mayor

2011: a referendum on whether…

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Unitary (One where legal sovereignty lies Federal (Examples are USA, Germany)
in one central location)

Sovereignty in the UK lies the Legal sovereignty is shared between the
Westminster Parliament centre and regional bodies

Powers may be delegated (or devolved) The sovereignty of regional bodies cannot
to local and regional government…

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historical convention. Devolution after the 1997 general election was
introduced by the Blair government first for Scotland and Wales then for
Northern Ireland. Devolution involves a large degree of self-government and
directly national assemblies.

Legal Sovereignty Political Sovereignty
Refers to the idea of `ultimate' Term refers to where actual

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It is flexible It is old fashioned
Provides for strong and decisive Parliament is too weak relative to
government government
Stood the test of time and so Power is too centralised and so
remains part of Britain's political threatens democracy
traditions Individual rights are not well
Doctrines of parliamentary protected…

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The speaker of the House of Commons are elected by all MPs and must
become politically neutral
Legislative committees are found for each proposed piece of legislation

Functions of The House of Commons

Representation: MPs represent constituents and may represent 'interests'
such as trade unions, or particular professions, provided these…

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the media) to appoint certain people- all Prime Ministers at least listen to
advice from senior colleagues before making appointments.
The Prime Ministers ability to control the flow of business is restricted
Apart from drawing up the party manifesto, most Prime Ministers do not
initiate policy- they have a small…

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issue, but also send a message to the government about the force of
their objection, all of which refocuses the Government and may force a

Parliamentary Committees

Committees Strengths Weaknesses
House of Commons Act largely Have relatively little
departmental select independently of party research back-up
committees control Have no…

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Decisions may be
overturned by the
House of Lords public bill whole House

Members have Proposed amendments
specialist knowledge, can be overturned in
experience and the House of Commons
Are relatively The government can
independent and are re-present proposed
free of party control legislation in the next




wow, really detailed notes... thank you this will come in very useful :)

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