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Is it true to say that the British parliament is no longer truly sovereign?

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  • Essay length: 2245 words
  • Submitted: 20/06/2006
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University Degree UK Government & Parliamentary Studies

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Is it true to say that the British parliament is no longer truly sovereign?

Parliament, legally, consists of the House of Commons, The House of Lords and the monarchy. However, since the monarch today has only prerogative powers, and since 1911 the House of Lords has lost much of its power, sovereignty now rests largely with the House of Commons (Economist 1995, p25).

The doctrine of Parliamentary sovereignty is the idea that parliament is effectively the most powerful decision making body in the land. It can essentially be broken down into three elements: firstly that it has the ability to 'make or unmake any law' (Scully, 2003, p124), secondly that it cannot pass any laws which bind its successors, and thirdly, that any acts passed by Parliament cannot be questioned by the courts of law. There are many contemporary issues which have come to affect the sovereignty of the British Parliament. The rise of Brussels, the process of devolution, the power of the executive and the issue of globalisation, amongst other things, have all contributed to the erosion of parliamentary sovereignty. However, it can be argued that Parliament was, from its very beginnings, never truly 'sovereign',

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