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The functions of Parliament

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´╗┐Thomas Wargent Politics homework of Ian Levinson The functions of parliament 1. Scrutiny of the government; Parliament examines and challenges the work of the government. Both the House of Commons and the House of Lords use similar methods of scrutiny, although the procedures vary. The principal methods are questioning government ministers, debating and the investigative work of committees. The government can publicly respond to explain and justify policies and decisions. Questions to government ministers may be answered orally or in writing. Ministers from each government department attend the Commons on a rota basis to answer oral questions. The Prime Minister answers questions every Wednesday. In the Lords, the House questions government ministers at the start of each day's business, but there are no set days for government departments. Debates in the Commons look at national and international issues and can be on any subject. Votes are often taken to see whether a majority of Members either support or reject any discussed proposals. ...read more.


Either House can vote down a Bill in which case it will normally not become law - but there are exceptions. The Commons can pass the same Bill in two successive years, in which case it can become law without the agreement of the Lords. Bills which are only about money (raising taxes or authorising government expenditure) are not opposed in the Lords and may be only be delayed for a month. The reigning monarch has to approve all new laws - called the Royal Assent - but this is a formality as in practice it is not withheld. Royal Assent was last withheld in 1708 when Queen Anne refused a Bill to settle the Militia in Scotland. When a Bill is given Royal Assent it becomes an Act of Parliament. It is then the responsibility of the relevant government department to implement that law (e.g., the Home Office will deal with new Acts relating to immigration). 1. Debates/representative function Both Houses of Parliament hold debates in which Members discuss government policy, proposed new laws and current issues. ...read more.


It is a dynamic style of discussion, in which MPs generally respond to the points made by other speakers rather than reading out formal, set-piece speeches. However, rules still govern debates. MPs have a right to be heard without overwhelming background noise, and unparliamentarily language is not allowed. Debates in the Lords The main role of the House of Lords is to debate and revise major legislation, but Lords also take part in general debates and discuss subjects of topical interest - like a new report, or a matter of public concern. The Lords regulate themselves and the order of business in the House. Therefore, there can be greater flexibility amongst its Members to examine an issue for longer than is typical in the Commons. Other Functions: 1. Recruitment and training function -Parliament are to recruit and train new candidates for the job. 2. Redress of grievance-to sort out problems I.e.: MP?s look after the interests of their constituencies. 3. Legitimising function:- due to the royal prerogative the prime minister can declare war, also if parliament decides on something we are supposed to think this is right as they our our representatives. ...read more.

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