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

What Problems does Parliament encounter in performing its various function?

Extracts from this document...


What Problems does Parliament encounter in performing its various function? In the 'parliamentary government' currently in place in Britain, it should be the case that the executive is subordinate to the legislature due to the fact that the members of the executive are drawn form the majority party in Parliament. However, in reality, due to the 'first past the post' electoral system utilised in Britain producing strong majority governments, the executive tends to dominate the legislature in what has been called an 'electoral dictatorship'. The legislature's role is therefore limited to the scrutiny of government and encounters many problems performing its functions. In performing the act of scrutiny, it could be said that the appearance of ministers in Parliament and the independent actions of select committees were helping in keeping the government in check. However, Parliament also encounters numerous problems in its role of scrutiniser. The general culture of British government involves a considerable amount of secrecy and the concealing of information. The convention of individual ministerial responsibility has caused further problems for the government. The convention of individual ministerial responsibility would once have meant that, if a particular department came under considerable criticism by Parliament, the minister in charge of said department would resign. ...read more.


It can also be seen that, whilst big improvements have been made in the past few years, women and ethnic minorities are still seriously under represented in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The strict discipline within all political parties also means that MP's independence is inhibited. For example, homosexuality within the main parties is seen as an issue that should be kept secret from the public when it would, in fact, make the parties more representative of the population. Parliament also has an important function in legislating. As Parliament is legally sovereign, it can give legitimate authority to laws with The Commons giving legitimacy to legislation and the Lords being able to suggest useful amendments. However, because of party discipline, scrutiny of legislation is weak. This brings in the issue of party patronage. The appointment of all ministers and peers is in the hands of the Prime Minister. It is therefore understandable that those who aspire to such positions are likely to remain loyal and obey the whips. And, once appointed, they will remain loyal to show gratitude. Any MP's who disagree with the party line may find their careers severely damaged. ...read more.


An element of theatrics has also prevented the process of deliberation from taking place, members from different parties resorting to humour to better the opposition, rather than discussing the issue at hand. However, I believe the Commons' weakness in deliberation is counter-balanced by the great deal of time spent debating issues in the House of Lords, free form the pressure of the party whips. Overall, I believe that the system of bicameralism within the UK means that, any weaknesses (of which there are many) within the House of Commons are counterbalanced by the time and effort given to debating issues within the House of Lords. Whilst I believe that, short of totally changing our voting system or undermining Parliamentary sovereignty, in reality little can be done to change the way the House of Commons is operated, I also believe that changes can be made to the House of Lords. Building on the improvements made to the legitimacy of the House of Lords by eradicating hereditary peers, the new life peers should be chosen from a wide variety of backgrounds and occupations, helping to increase representation within Parliament. I also believe that the House of Lords should be equal in legislative power as the House of Commons, thus overriding the Parliament Acts that would limit the Lords capability to defeat legislation. ...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. Free essay

    Reforms of Turkey under Mustafa Ataturk, with regards to the revelutions from above

    Another major downfall, which had major impact on the countries and the amount of success they experienced, was the fact that Ataturk's government acquired legitimacy by the virtue of electoral victories; therefore he maintained the support of the people, alternatively Shah's objective was to consolidate his own power.

  2. The Impact of Electoral Design on the Legislature.

    Further, in highly divided societies a semi-proportional system would likely lead to less polarisation than in a PR system. It provides for a stronger link between legislators and their constituents, since legislators represent particular geographic areas rather than just parties.

  1. The constitutional change in the House of Lords

    The government "agrees with the commission that this approach is best suited to securing a properly representative membership, able to fulfill the functions of the second chamber, while complementing and enhancing, not usurping, the House of Commons". In relation to the three options of selecting regional members, the government is

  2. Prime Ministers between 1899-1914

    The Conservatives, who had a large majority in the House of Lords, objected to this attempt to redistribute wealth, and made it clear that they intended to block these proposals. David Lloyd George reacted by touring the country making speeches in working-class areas on behalf of the budget and portraying

  1. UK Written Constitutionshould the legislative process in Parliament be designed to secure that 'unconstitutional' ...

    have insufficient access to information18 and play a marginal role in scrutinising legislation.19 This is partly because

  2. Minority Rights, Identity Politics and Gender in Bangladesh: Current Problems and Issues

    A further constitutional amendment (the 8th amendment) declared Islam to the state religion of Bangladesh. It was a ploy to use Islam as policy of statecraft so as to gain more friends and allies in the Islamic countries as well as to legitimize his autocratic rule.

  1. Legislators have three essential functions: representation, law-making and control of the executive. How does ...

    Combining all of the above one could be led to the thought that the German legislation body, the Bundestag, is indeed effective. Although there is no system of checks and balances between government and the Bundestag has established a tactic to control the Chancellor and his\her cabinet.

  2. Notes on "Is Parliament still sovereign?"

    is for prlmnt to decide whether or not to amend the law through a fast track process or launch an appeal 6. In reality, prlmnt finds its hands tied, because law deemed contraty to HR will lack moral authority and will be subject to further legal challenge 7.

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