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How Far Could it be Argued that Parliament Has Lost Sovereignty?

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How Far Could it be Argued that Parliament Has Lost Sovereignty? In the 1880's a man named Dicey said that sovereignty lies with Parliament. However, various people argued with his theory by saying if people voted for Parliament then sovereignty must lie with the people. Dicey countered this by stating that there were two types of sovereignty, legal and political. He said that legal sovereignty lay with Parliament as they make the laws while political sovereignty lay with the people on election day. However Norton argued in the 1900's that 'If one accepts that sovereignty is indivisible, how can one have two distinct bodies (the electorate and Parliament) each exercising sovereignty?' Also, Government ministers are legally responsible to the monarch and they are strictly 'Ministers of the Crown' but by convention, they are responsible to parliament because as Dicey said, sovereignty lies with parliament. In 1885, Dicey stated that in his opinion the sovereignty of Parliament along with the rule of law were the two principle factors that supported the British constitution. ...read more.


In Dicey's day, Parliament was powerful which meant the executive and leader of the executive were not very powerful at all. However, due to technological change, the increase of media coverage, and a more educated electorate. The Prime Minister, according to Tony Benn has ten major powers. He has the power to appoint, reshuffle or dismiss ministers, the power to create peers, give out honours, appoint chairs of nationalised industries and other appointments such as ambassadors, civil servants etc. According to Benn, Prime Minister also has power over ministerial conduct, powers relating to government business and possibly the three powers that the Prime Minister has which signifies Parliament's loss of sovereignty are that he has powers over information (he can decide whether or not to inform Parliament about government activities), powers in international relations (for example the war on Iraq where Tony Blair seemed to ignore what Parliament thought) and also the power to terminate a Parliament or government which is possibly the most important power concerning the sovereignty of Parliament. ...read more.


of Parliament and also strictly speaking, Parliament does have the power to get rid of a Prime Minister although it may never happen, there is still that power there. As argued before, Parliament are also free to leave Europe or ignore Europe (like France did with the ban on British Beef) whenever they feel necessary or they can, if they like go further into Europe but political and economic consequences may have a say in what Parliament decide to do. With regards to public opinion about Parliament, the amount of coverage in the media shows that the public must still be interested in Parliament and by obeying laws, the public are doing what Parliament tell them to do which does give more power to Parliament. So although Parliament's sovereignty has changed in scope a great day since the day of Dicey, it is clear that Parliament does still have some degree of sovereignty albeit the fact that the power of the Prime Minister is increasing term by term, it may not be long before Parliamentary sovereignty is lost all together. Ross Holden ...read more.

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