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Is the Parliament still sovereign in the UK?

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Khushal Ashani Is the Parliament still sovereign in the UK? The Parliament in the United Kingdom has developed over more than 900 years during which the House of Commons and the House of Lords raised and evolved. King Henry V in the 15th century placed the House of Commons and Lords on the same level. In 1689 with the establishment of the Bill of Rights it was ensured that Parliament had authority over the monarch and would be in charge of legislating and abolishing laws. The Act of Union of the British Parliament with Scotland and Ireland in 1707 and 1800 respectively which dissolved their Parliaments and made their MPs and Lords became part of Westminster followed. Nearly a century later, the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949 put a stop to the amending powers of the Lords regarding monetary Bills and also reduced the time limit within which they could delay a Bill. Today Parliament comprises of the House of Commons which consists of elected Members of Parliament, the House of Lords with its peers, Lords and the Crown. ...read more.


Parliament is sovereign at any time that is present, so whatever the earlier Parliament said does not necessarily bind the current Parliament and what Parliament says now, does not bind the future Parliament. Even if current Parliament wanted to bind the future Parliament and presented it as expressly as possible, the law could easily be repealed. Is parliament not sovereign? The UK joined the European Union in 1973 by signing the European Communities Act 1972. The European Community law has to be given primacy over domestic UK law under requirements of the European Community Law. The institutions within the European Community are allowed to make laws which the UK has to apply in its courts as long as it affects the UK regardless of whether Parliament wishes it or not. However, as previous Parliaments decisions do not bind future Parliaments the UK can withdraw from the European Community if they so wish it and the political parties have often use the European Community as a tool to win elections promising the electorate referendums. ...read more.


Hence, judges focus not mainly on the strict view of law but interpret it keeping in mind what legislators would have intended. Taking into account the loss of Parliamentary sovereignty through the membership of the European Community, the incorporation of the Humans Act into the British Legal system, devolution and the purposive approach, Parliamentary sovereignty is indeed declining but perhaps the idea that Parliament was ever completely Sovereign is questionable as the Members of Parliament have been accountable to the electorate in every general election. But because of majority that the government has in the House of Commons it becomes easier for them to pass a Bill once the party whip indicates to the rest of the MPs within the party which way the Party leadership would like them to vote such as in the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005. In conclusion, although lack of Parliamentary sovereignty can appear to be both progressive and illiberal, the former perhaps has a stronger case as we exist in a globalised world where combining forces for the progression of trade and economy is more essential than debating fading domestic sovereignty. ...read more.

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