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"An Institution in decline." Discuss this view of the contemporary House of Commons.

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"An Institution in decline." Discuss this view of the contemporary House of Commons. The House of Commons has seven main functions; legitimating, Scrutinising, Accountability, Legislating, Law-making, Redressing of grievances and deliberating. If the contemporary House of Commons were in decline, we would see this by a decline in the effectiveness of the House of Commons when carrying out these functions. Looking at the functions of the House of Commons will help to assess whether or not the House of Commons is "an institution in decline." Legislation has to be approved by the House of Commons in order to give the consent of the people for the laws that they will be expected to follow. This is achieved in the function of legitimating in the House of Commons. No decline in effectiveness seems to be shown in this function. MPs are becoming more representative of the population as the House of Commons is slowly changing from being predominantly white, middle aged and middle class men to more representative of females and ethnic minorities; there are now 118 female MPs and the number of ethnic minority MPs has risen for the fourth time since 1945. ...read more.


However, there are many cases in which the House of Commons has made sure that people are accountable for their actions and example of this is the July 2001 AS Examination debate that asked questions to education ministers and gave the Opposition a chance to criticize the government; this acts as a deterrent for ministers as they don't follow any bad policies if there is a chance that they will have to fully justify their reasons for it. Legislating is passing laws. The House of Commons aren't expected to defeat government laws as the government has the majority. A problem of legislating is that the government usually gets what it wants as it dominates the House of Commons and MPs are unlikely to rebel; Tony Blair said in a speech "Look at the Tory party...They were all swept away, rebels and loyalists alike...you are here because of the Labour party under which you fought." This was to tell MPs that they had to be united or they would lose power like the Conservatives had. They were told that they should rely on their party because it was the only reason they had a job. MPs aren't willing to risk losing their salary for a rebellion. ...read more.


a "right to rule" to introduce the policies they were elected for. The statement that the House of Commons in an "Institution in decline" isn't correct because there is no evidence to show that the House of Commons isn't carrying out its roles effectively. There has been no decline in the effectiveness of the way in which the House of Commons carries out its roles of scrutiny, accountability, legislation, law making and redressing of grievances; as they are still carried out as well as they always had been. There have been improvements in the legitimating functions of the House of Commons as there is better representation and there is still a great deal of respect for other MPs as they represent their public constituency by the use of the title "honourable member." Another function that is being carried out ,ore effectively by the commons is deliberation due to better representation and an elected government. There are minor problems with the functions of the House of Commons that prove rather ineffective e.g. MPs are unlikely to rebel so they may be agreeing with their party rather than speaking to represent their constituents, but overall, the functions of the House of commons are carried out as effectively or if not, more effectively than in previous times. Siobhan Kiely October 2003 ...read more.

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