The constitutional reform since 2010
Constitutional reform since 2010 includes:
- Elected HOL
- Fewer MPs and equal sized constituencies.
- Fixed-term Parliaments
- Powers to recall MPs
- AV referendum
Elected House of Lords
The Coalition set out a plan foe a mostly elected HOL, which has not been completely successful:
- P: The plan for a mostly elected HOL was unsuccessful because the HOL were against it and it was warned that a smaller, elected house would make it harder to scrutinise the govt.
- E: For example, both Cameron and Clegg pledged to cut the number of peers to 300, and 20% of these would be appointed based on their expertise, and the rest would be elected on 15 year non renewable terms.
- E: The reduced number of peers would make it difficult for the HOL to scrutinise the work and proposals of the HOC, which takes the accountability that Parliament holds over the govt.
- L: Therefore, this reform was unsuccessful because it was not taken further, and thus, it would have taken the effective roles away from the HOL.
Fewer MPs and Equal-sized constituencies
The government has pledged to cut the number of MPs:
- From 650 to 600, arguing that it would create evenly sized constituencies and ensure greater fairness for voters.
- This could be successful because it is still be analysed.
However, this pledge was not successful because:
- This reform has not been approved to become law.
- Therefore, the size of constituencies and number of MPs in the HOC has not changed.
In 2011, the Coalition passed the Fixed-term Parliaments Act which:
- Provided General Elections to be on a fixed date every 5 years.
- The only way to trigger an election within the 5 years, will be on the basis of a vote of no confidence and if there is no alternative government.
How it was a success:
- P: The Fixed-term Parliaments Act is successful because it limits the PM's power.
- E: As the UK's constitution is uncodified, the PM's power to call an election was not limited before 2011.
- E: For example, PM's such as Blair, could have called a General Election in times that came to their advantange.
- L: Therefore, this Act has been successful because it means that the PM is not claiming too much power over the people, as it prevents them to call Elections, when they still have majority support.
Powers to recall MPs
Powers to recall MPs have given powers to the people to:
- Remove MPs found guilty of wrong doing or had been suspended for over 21 days, by a petition signed by 10% of the constituency.
- The Conservatives and Lib Dems agreed a by-election would be called when an MP was jailed for more than a year.
This has been successful because:
- P: Powers to recall MPs have been successful because it has increased democracy.
- E: This is because it allows the people to vote against their MP and change them, if the MP has been convicted for a criminal crimes.
- E: For example, the Recall of MPs Act was passed in 2015, to be able to call a petition against their MP.
- L: Therefore recall of MPs has been successful as the Act was passed, which gave the people more power over their MP, and it ensures that an MP is sacked if they have been convicted of a crime.
On the other hand, the Recall of MPs has been unsuccessful because:
- Zac Goldsmith did not like the fact that MPs will decide whether an MP faced recall or dismissal, instead of the people.
In 2011, it was proposed to change the electoral voting system, which would require a constitutional change. Therefore a referendum was called, as the UK's constitution is uncodified.
- The voter turnout of the AV referendum was a majority 'no' vote.
- Therefore, the FPTP voting system remained.
- This showed a massive fail in changing the constitution as the people rejected it when they were given the choice.
E-petitions were introduced to reconnect the voters and MPs:
- Thus, a e-petition website was created.
- A petition requires 100,000 signatures for it to be debated in Parliament, providing MPs put the idea to the Backbench Business Committee.
- This is successful because it makes it easier to citizens to sign petitions, if they disagree with the govt's proposals.
- E.g. 32 topics that were debated in HOC, were subject directly by e-petitions.
- 10 petitions have reached 100,000 and 8 of them were debated.
- In 2012, a debate, lead my MP Frank Field and Nicholas Soames, on immigration was triggured by an e-petition signed by 142,000.
- Although they may be debated, these petitions usually don't go further.