• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Debates, Question Time, and Select Committees all give Parliament Teeth." Do you agree?

Extracts from this document...


"Debates, Question Time, and Select Committees all give Parliament Teeth." Do you agree? I don't agree with this statement because in general I don't think that Parliament is able to complete one of its main functions, to scrutinise the Government - or get its teeth into Government - very effectively. Parliament's other main function is to pass bills, yet I don't think that it can do this very well either. First of all, there are a number of reasons which prevent Parliament from being very effective and getting its teeth into Government during debates. For instances, questions are expected from MPs, so they already have answers prepared. Also, going into a debate an MP cant expect to change anyone's opinion, at best they can just hope to higher their profile and get noticed. What's more, backbench MPs, who will be aiming to raise awareness of a problem bought to their attention by constituents, hardly get the opportunity to speak, especially during great debates. Furthermore, the Whips tell MPs what to say and when to attend, so debates are very much under their control, yet sometimes debates can just turn into slanging matches between MPs. Finally, there is generally a poor attendance in debates, so often there are deals done in the corridors, as private conversations appear to be more effective. ...read more.


These have the right to call any one up for questioning, and they will be asked to give evidence and answer questions, much like in a court. This gives Parliament the opportunity to scrutinise by questioning Government's decisions, as they have the right to ask whatever they want to, they have "Parliamentary Privilege". Also Government Whips, Ministers, and the Opposition Front Benchers aren't allowed to be part of a Select Committee, which means there is less control over what is said by committee members. Furthermore, although committees are made up in proportion to the representation of Parties in the House of Commons, meaning that there is a majority of Government MPs here, they feel that it is there responsibility and duty as a member of a Select Committee to hold the Government accountable and scrutinise them to the best of their ability. What's more, people who are called up to be questioned by a select committee are expected to tell the truth and bring any required documents, so that the committees always get the evidence that they need. However, despite this power that the select committees may have, much of it is in vein, as although any MP has the right to apply to join a Select Committee and influence which one they would like to join, ...read more.


There are also factors that undermine Parliament that reduce its ability to scrutinise Government, for example Special Interest Groups, who get listened to more than the electorate. Also, the media has a huge influence on both Policies and the reputation of Parliament, which can often prevent Parliament from getting on with its job. What's more, Party Politics dominate Parliament, as MPs are generally more concerned with supporting their Party than with supporting Parliament. Finally, Europe has a strong influence over what goes on in Parliament, and the Executive has a great amount of power. In conclusion, despite some opportunities for Parliament to carry out arguably its main job, to scrutinise the Government, effectively, these are often ignored by the Government or undermined by outside influences, meaning that the Government has a huge amount of power that Parliament can do almost nothing about. As one Parliamentary commentator, Brick, showed through a famous cartoon, Parliament is just a big theatre performance that is staged by the Whips, but is generally of no interest to the electorate. Another Parliamentary commentator, Wright, said that it was nobody's job, not even Parliament's, to scrutinise the Government, but that there is merely a never-ending election campaign between Government and the Opposition. Therefore, in my opinion, I disagree with the statement, as I believe that Debates, Question Time, nor Select Committees give Parliament Teeth with which they can get into Government. Andrew Edwards ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Politics essays

  1. How effective is Parliament? The effectiveness of Parliament can only be ascertained by evaluating ...

    The select committees also have no power to enforce any recommendations and therefore the most they can do is argue their point but they can take it no further. Fourthly, standing committees. Standing committees are larger than select committees as they have up to 40 members.

  2. How effective are M.P.'s at scrutinising the Government?

    They seek to oppose and criticise the government. The opposition are also allocated a number of opposition days in which they are free to choose the topics of debates. This allows them to effectively scrutinise the government. In spite of this, the opposition cannot scrutinise the government to the best of their abilities due to a few problems.

  1. Sharpeville Massacre Sources Question

    By passing a variety of laws they made certain that they could effectively be within their legal right to have people arrested, jailed or 'banned' without a trial. To be 'banned' was to be isolated from the rest of your community.

  2. How effectively do select committees perform their functions?

    In this sense they have been more successful in holding the Government accountable as opposed to the whole House. The committees try to operate away from the pressure of the party whips. Th committees try to produce unanimous reports, or at least have the support of two parties.

  1. 'The government controls parliament but it cannot always rely on getting its own way.' ...

    This move is the more commonly used, especially when a government is unsatisfied with the progression of a bill at the standing committee stage, and wishes to force its continuation.

  2. To what extent does executive dominance over parliament prevent M.P.'s from carrying out their ...

    Another extremely important part of the role of an M.P. is to redress grievances of the M.P.'s constituency. They are expected to meet with local pressure groups and businesses, visit local schools and hospitals etc. Therefore they should know the problems within their constituency for real.

  1. European Parliament

    The European Parliament meets and discusses in public. It publishes it's debates, resolutions, and opinions in the 'Official Journal Of The European Union'. For international relations, and official occasions, the President (Nicole Fontaine) represents the whole of the European Parliament. The president also chairs the bureau's meetings. The Bureau, in this case, is 'the regulatory body that is

  2. Politics and Parliament - What's it all about?

    One of the by-products of Western influence in other parts of the world has been the spread of the idea of parliamentary government, though some non-Western states had their own assemblies in pre-colonial times. This was particularly true of the British Commonwealth.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work