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Question from January 2003

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Question from January 2003. a) Outline the difference between the composition of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The main difference between the House of Commons and the House of Lords is that the House of Commons consists of MPs, who are elected into the house to represent a constituency. The House of Lords, on the other hand, consists of Lords who are largely appointed by the Prime Minister or the Queen. Lords are entitled to sit in the house for the duration of their life, MPs, however, sit in the House of Commons only whilst they are elected to do so. b) What are the main differences between parliamentary government and presidential government? Parliamentary government differs from presidential government in many ways, the most prominent dissimilarity being that, parliamentary government lacks a clear separation of power, and it has a fused system. ...read more.


How effective is parliament in holding the government to account? Parliament acts, in many ways as an effective form of scrutiny. Both select and standing committees allow for deep analysis of government policy administration and bills respectively. Select committees in particular compel ministers to answer questions that may or may not otherwise get asked. This being said, as the government is not obliged to act upon their recommendations it can be argued that they lack expertise, this being particularly true of the commons committees. Standing committees, it can also be argued, are a bit of a waste of time as, like the house of commons, they are government dominated and whipped and so they cannot always offer effective scrutiny. Some select committees though, have shown some teeth, with a prime example being Labours recent education white paper, with both Labour & the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives each writing their own version of the paper. ...read more.


Being televised, however, it has been argued, turns what should be an effective form of scrutiny into a point-scoring exercise with insults and one-liners covering up the questions at hand. The fast pace of the questions allows for a wide range of issues to be covered, although this could mean that the focus is lost with all the changes. Although the Prime Minister does not have time to prepare, they tend to spend time, and money, trying to guess the questions that will be asked in the session. This is, it can be argued, a waste of time and money for both the Prime Minister and the civil servant. All in all, Prime Ministers questions is an ineffective check on the government as it really only focuses on the Prime Minister, not the rest of the government. Although the Government always has a majority in parliament, they cannot always avoid the issues raised by parliament. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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