- Created by: Josef Doughty
- Created on: 22-12-11 12:27
The Make-up of the House of Commons part 1: inform
The House of Commons is an assembly elected by universal adult sufferage ( most can vote if an adult). The House of Commons has MPs ( members of Parliament) in it. all are represented as a geographical area of UK, this is called a constituencies, these representatives are from different Political party's, for example the main three are Liberal Democrats, Conservative and Labour. These Elections are now fixed for every five years, during these elections representives from each of the political Parties will represent there Party, The election process is First Past The Post system. The leader of the the Largest Party in the house of commons will go on to become the Prime Minister
The Make-up of the House of Commons Part 2: Why is
There are several reasons as too Why the Make-up of the House of Commons isn't representative:
1. The Party
If the party do not have the entire consent of the public they have to form a coalition or a minority government, if they do this they do not have all the public's consent in one way or another
Parliamentary is more or less male, in fact only 22% percent of MPs in the new Parliament are women. When women in the population equal to 51%, Labour and conservative have increased there numbers but Liberal Democrats have seen numbers drop.
The Make up of the House of Commons: why isn't it
The House of Commons is predominately white. in 1997 there were 9 non-white MPs but at the moment there are only four percent of MPs are from different ethnicity's
Socially not typical, 2/3 of MPs have received higher education, 20 MPs from Eton. This creates social divide, arguments for, it is hard
Typical MP: 50 year old white male
The Composition of the House of Lords
House of Lords is Controversial, 3 bases of membership,, 4 kinds of peers, non are elected. There are only 92 hereditary peers because of the 1999 House of Lords Act, which limited the hereditary peers. There are life peers which are chosen by the prime minister, suggested by leaders of each party, there are also lord spirituals who represent the opinions of the church of england.
Is it representative?
No, it is not elected and it allows the Prime Minister to get a foot in the door of both Houses ( The Prime Minister sits in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords). It also does not have the accurate representation of all major religions. This might not matter because it is only deals in scrutiny and cannot oppose apart from key events. For example: Gambling order 2007- stopped the building of the a super casino in manchester.
The House of Commons power
The House of Commons has legislative power it can make/change abolish. The House of Lords can only delay these laws. Legal sovereignty of Parliament is excercised everyday by the House of Commons.
The house of Commons can remove the government. This is based on collective responsibility ( keep the government from dividing over issues). If the House of Commons defeats the government in a vote of confidence, the government is obliged to resign.
Difference between Parliamentary System or Preside
The executive and the legislature are interconnected. There isn't a separation of powers, The government is chosen from the majority by the leader of the party. The executive is accountable to the legislature ( the house of commons) for any mistakes that might be present.
The USA the legislature and the executive are seperate, there is a separation of powers. The head of the executive is the president, he acts as the head of the state. The legislature is the Houses of Congress
The Prime Minister is a member of the executive and the legislature, it means he can influence decision. This could be called an elective dictatorship because the Prime Ministers THe House of Commons can remove the government, the President can't be forced out and visa versa.
America is a system of checks and balances ( both systems can block each other).
Function 3: scrutiny
Parliament doesn't govern but scrutinises the government of the day. Parliament has to call the government and ministers to account, this is via individual ministerial responsibility ( all ministers must call to account to parliament). There are several areas that are tied in with scrutiny these are:
Prime Ministers question time
Votes/division bells/division lobbies
Departmental select committees
Written questions and answers.
Scrutiny Question time and PMQ's
Question Time:EVERYTHING IS TELEVISED
Question is held in the house of commons each weekday, ministers take turns to asnwer questions on a four week cycle and the prime minister answers questions from 12:00 every wednesday
Prime Ministers question:
PMQ's are far more of an occaision, it is the Prime Minister vs the opposition
The Prime Minsiter can steer away from the question however it allows back benchers to get involved
It helps one Party perform better but it does inform the public and the PM has to answer honestly.
It has been referred to as a shouting match
Debates/votes and division lobbies
Debates are characteristic of the Parliament. It helps to decide on government policy and admin. A government can rely on it's majority to gain approval.
Major debates are opened and closed by ministers or front benchers from the opposition party. Both Parties are given time to speak but it is usually a foregone conclusion due to a majority.
Members go through what we call a division lobby. They vote for or against a topic by physically going through a door.
MPs don't have to participate in a debate to be able to vote and maybe elsewhere, there are bells that ring if there is about to be a vote.
These proceedings are whipped.
The problem with the debates are that backbenchers do not really have a say in government, they are starved of data. They also may not be able to perform as well if not articulate
The Whip System
The Whipping system maintains part discipline. The job of the whips is to make sure that MPs know how their parties want to vote, it also helps in the government along with collective responsibility. If an MP criticizes the government they can get fired for it.
A three line whip is of the utmost important, in an important vote, MPs must tow the party line. Of course in most votes, most MPs do but sometimes as was the case the EU referendum, there is a backbench revolt (torie back bench revolt) .
Departmental select commitees.
Department select commitees scrutinise:
Select committees scrutinize government policy, they shadow the work of each of the major government departments, shadow the work of ministers, the ask to see papers, or ministers or even civilians and ask to see government papers for inquiries.
but any minister can either refuse to attend or classify any documents as
The select comittees are decided via the makeup of the House of Commons