The Legislature OCR AS Government and Politics

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  • Created by: EJ19
  • Created on: 28-10-14 22:59


The Legislature:

Bicameral = House of Commons and House of Lords.

- Roles:

1.       Political recruitment – need to be recruited from somewhere e.g. Brown appointed ‘outsiders’ (Alan Sugar and head of CIA) to Lords so they could be recruited

2.       Political legitimisation – e.g. 2013 marriage equality act = 395 votes

3.       Political communication – e.g. BBC parliament

4.       Representation of citizens – constituents e.g. Dominic Grieve represents Beaconsfield

- Legislative stages:

·         1st Reading – formal, no debate

·         2nd Reading – debate

·         Committee stage – clause by clause consideration of bill

·         Report stage – report on amended bill by committee

·         3rd Reading – brief debate, normally approved

·         House of Lords – can amend bills (e.g. dangerous dogs act)

·         Consideration of Lords amendments – if not accepted, Lords give way or parliament act

·         Royal assent – Queen

The Commons and the Lords

- Composition of the Commons: 650 MPs (not a fixed number, due to be reduced to 600 in 2013), each MP is elected by a constituency using the ‘first-past-the-post’ voting system, they are almost always a representative of a party and are therefore subject to a system of party discipline, either backbenchers (majority) or frontbenchers.

- Powers/Roles of the Commons:

·         Has supreme legislative power – can make, unmake and amend any laws whilst the Lords can only delay these laws coming into effect. The legal sovereignty of Parliament is exercised in practice by the Commons (subject to higher authority of EU laws and treaties)

·         HoC alone can remove the government of the day – convention of CMR = govt defeated in the Commons is obliged to resign/hold an election (BUT, 2013 syria vote Cameron defeated)

- Composition of the House of Lords: there are three distinct bases for membership and none are elected (from HoL act 1999 to remove dominant hereditary peers + 2005 constitutional reform act removing law lords + set up Supreme Court).

·         Life Peers – entitled to sit in Lords their whole lifetime – appointed under Life Peerages Act 1958. Appointed by PM and recommendations from opposition leaders. Dominate the Lords.

·         Hereditary Peers – hold inherited title which also carries the right to sit in the House of Lords. Descending = dukes, marquises, earls, viscounts and barons. Since 1999 – only 92 are allowed to sit.

·         Lords Spiritual – bishops and archbishops of the Church of England, others are ‘Lords Temporal’. There are 26 – traditionally appointed by the PM on recommendations of the Church, and under the coalition there have been proposals to reduce the number to 12.

- Powers of the HoL:

·         Delay bills – can delay bills passed by the HoC for one year but can’t delay ‘money bills’ and can’t defeat measures outlined in government’s election manifesto e.g. 2005 Hunting Act the speaker


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