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Parliament
Key Concepts:

Parliament ­ Lies at the heart of the democratic process. The debating chamber of the
nation. There are 3 strands of Parliament: the Monarchy, the House of Lords and the
House of Commons. Parliament represents, legislates, scrutinises, recruits and trains
ministers and ensures legitimacy. 650 members
Westminster…

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What does Parliament do?

Represent through debating
Legislate through looking at Bills and Laws
Scrutinise by monitoring the government
Recruit and train ministers
Legitimacy



Summary/Overview of Parliament:

There are 650 members of parliament:
Labour: 258 MPs
Conservative: 306 MPs
Liberal Democrats: 57 MPs
Other: 29 MPs ­ divided between SNP,…

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E: Report Stage: this is when the committee reports back to the full House of
Commons on any changes made during the committee stage. The Commons may
amend or reverse changes at the report stage.
F: The Third Reading: this replicates the second reading in that it is a debate…

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MPs and Peers are socially unrepresentative of the larger society.
Party Discipline: makes MPs a party delegate rather than a party representative on most
pieces of legislation. BUT it is necessary as most vote for the party instead of an
individual ­ expect more to follow the party line.
Does…

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departments. They carry out enquiries and write reports, carry out
question-and-answer sessions with ministers, civil servants etc and ask to see
government papers.
EG: The Education Select Committee: examines the expenditure,
administration and policy of the Department for Education.
Debates and Ministerial statements: government policy can be examined through
legislative…

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Fewer and fewer ministers have experience of careers outside politics.

Legitimacy:

Promote legitimacy
When government governs through Parliament, their actions are more likely to be seen
as `rightful' and therefore to be obeyed.
This occurs for two reasons:
Parliament, in a sense, `stands for' the public, being a representative assembly.…

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The Whitehall Model: this suggests that all power has shifted from Parliament to the
executive. It is executive dominated. Parliament has no meaningful policy influence.
The Transformative Model: it accepts that Parliament is no longer a policy-making body,
but neither is it a simple irrelevance. Parliament can transform policy but…

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Due to FPTP system to over-present large parties
EG: Only 1 general election since 1945 has failed to produce a single
party majority government.
The larger the government majority, the weaker the back-benchers.
Contrast between small and large majorities can be stark.
Advent of Coalition Government:
The coalition government led…

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It is the politically and legally dominant chamber of Parliament.
The House of Commons has supreme legislative power: in theory, the commons can
make, unmake and amend any law it wishes with the Lords only being able to delay these
laws. The legal sovereignty of Parliament is exercised in practice…

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positive as it makes Parliament more representative of the public's needs but could
also cause trivia (waste of time?)
Referendum on AV: although rejected in 2011, AV was likely to have boosted
representation for third parties such as the LibDems and could be expected to lead
to more `hung' parliaments.…

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