Parliament- PART A

potential part a questions

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Redress of citizens' grievances

if the federal government is exceeding the authority granted to it under the constitution (which it does regularly by the way) the people have a right to formally complain and the government must repond.

Redress of grievances refers to the legitimate expectation by a citizen in a democratic society that complaints against public officials will be considered fairly and impartially and that legal remedies for wrongs will be available where malpractice be revealed.

 e.g Manx residents have the right to submit Petitions for Redress of Grievance at the ceremony at Tynwald Hill. The process, which dates back 1,000 years, is for residents who have exhausted all normal channels of appeal for their grievance.

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Prime Ministers Questions

The Prime Minister answers questions for half an hour each week. This session takes place between 12 noon and 12.30pm each sitting Wednesday. Unlike questions tabled to other ministers, there is no requirement to provide advance notice of the question to be asked: the majority of MPs merely request the Prime Minister to ‘list his engagements for the day’. Questions to the Prime Minister are usually very topical, though it is unlikely that he will have detailed responses available to specific questions.

The Leader of the Opposition is permitted six supplementary questions in total, and will indicate to the Speaker when he wishes to be called.

 When in opposition, the Leaderof the Liberal Democrats was allowed two questions: now that party is in government, the convention no longer holds, though the leaders of smaller parties may be called to put supplementary questions.

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Parliamentary Sovereignty

Parliamentary sovereignty is when parliament has absolute and unlimited authority, being the supreme law-making government. Only parliament can make, amend and unmake law or can introduce, change, or repeal legislation as it wishes. No other institution can override its decisions


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In the HoC seating is arranged in blocks or rows, with each political party grouped together

The government benches are to the right of the Speaker, the Opposition ones to the left

The leading spokespersons (front-benchers) for the government (ministers) and the opposition (shadow ministers) sit on the benches at the front of their group

those MPs behind are known as back benchers

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Parliamentary Questions

Parliamentary questions are tools that can be used by Members of Parliament to seek  information or to press for action.

Parliamentary Questions are one of the tools used by MPs to hold the Government to account. By questioning government ministers, Members can oblige them to provide information, explain policy decisions or defend the actions of their departments. Prime Minister’s Question Time is a high profile example of this, but Cabinet ministers and their junior colleagues answer departmental questions in the Commons Chamber on most sitting days.Morefrequently, questions are put to ministers in writing and answered a few days later.

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Select Committees

 19 Scrutiny committees responsible for examining the expenditure, administration and politicy of their relevant department. eg. Defence. They comprise back-bench MPs of all parties, the number for each party depening on its relative strength in the chamber

around a dozen MPs on each; relecting party strength on HoC

Idea is that they scrutinise the work of each deparment and can send for ministers, civil servants and ask tos ee documents

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Life Peers

Life Peerages Act 1958- permitted men and women to be created as peers for the duration of their lives. The purpose was to diversify membership of the chamber by bringing in people from various walks of life (without exluding their heirs from membership of the Commons)

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The Speaker

the non partisan officer of the House of Commons who presides over its debates, determines which members may speak and is responsible for maintaining order during debate

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The Branch of government responsible for discussing and passing laws (legislation) and acting as a watchdog over the government

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Relates to the system of control and answerability which is seen as a key element of democratic and representative government. By various mechanisms, ministers have to account for their stewardship of the nation's affairs to the elected House of Commons

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Public Bills

Bills which change the law as it applies to the whole community, being binding on everyone. They are the most common type of bill introduced in parliament

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Standing Committees

Committees of the House of Commons which scrutinise and amend the details of bills, clause by clause.

They comprise back-bench MPs of all parties, the number for each party depending on its relative strength in the chamber

From the beginning of the 2006-07 session, Standing Committees have been known as Public Bill Committees

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Career Politicians

People committed to politics which they regard as their vocation.

They know little else beyond the world of politics, policy making and elections

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Statutory Instruments:

many Acts are passed in outline form, allowing ministers, (and other public bodies such as local authorities) to introduce the necesssary orders or regulations, eg. increasing levels of benefit payment, as authorised by Social Security legislation

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Elective Dictatorship

the term coined by Lord Hailsham to describe the constitutional imbalance in which executive power has increased and parliamentary power diminished.

His argument was that a government armed with a strong majority in the House of Commons, assisted by strong party discipline, could drive its programme through the chamber.

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Early Day Motions:

MPs may table motions for debate "on an early day" which in most cases never comes, th epurpose being to draw attention to an issue.
Other MPs add their names to the motion, so making known to the government the extent of parliamentary feeling on the matter

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Motion for the adjournment:

 takes place prior to the recess, at the end of each day's sitting and in timed slots in the Tuesday and Wednesday morning sittings in Westminster Hall.
MPs seek to adjourn the House in order to raise topics of constituence interest or public concern.

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An arrangement where an MP of one party agrees with an MP of an opposing party not to vote in a particular division. this gives both MPs the opportunity to absent themselves from Commons proceedings.

Such arrangements have to be registered with the whips

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Political Advisers

Advisers appointed to provice political advice, assessment and support to ministers, offering an alternative perspective to those provided by civil servants

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Private Members Bills

Private Members' Bills are Public Bills introduced by MPs and Lords who aren't government ministers. As with other Public Bills their purpose is to change the law as it applies to the general population. A minority of Private Members' Bills become law but, by creating publicity around an issue, they may affect legislation indirectly

Ballot Bills have the best chance of becoming law, as they get priority for the limited amount of debating time available.

Difficulties surrounding PMBs include the lack of opportunities for their introducttion, of time for their consideration and of civil service help in drafting them

Some important PMBs have been enacted, eg. Abortion Act 1967

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Eliot Lee

Not your best.

Ben Beevers


Eliot Lee

In summary, not your best notes Cribbin.

Rachel Cribbin

Thanks so much for your feeback elliot. How could i improve next time?

please stop fighting! both of your opinions matter!

Jyoti Kataria

this was helpful :) 

thanks x

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