Is Britain an elective dictatorship?

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Is Britain an elective dictatorship?

Lord Hailsham suggested the phrase elective dictatorship in his academic paper written in 1976. Elective dictatorship refers to the fusion of powers of the executive and the legislature; where the legislature is drawn from the executive therefore resulting in dominance of the executive over the legislature.

       Firstly the executive’s majority in the House of Commons reinforces the executives dominance. Elective dictatorship occurs in conjunction with this situation and that of the governing party, the executive. The party in power will by definition have more seats, i.e. more voting power than all the opposition parties. This means that any legislation or motion proposed by the governing party could be passed unless government MPs dissents, because only a simple majority is required. Due to the strength of the  system to prevent MPs of the governing party voting against it, in practice government bills are extremely rarely defeated in the .  The government proposes usually around 95% of the bills passed. Also from 1997-2005 the Labour party had not lost a bill. Another reason why Britain is considered to be an elective dictatorship is the limited powers of parliament, which has led to the undermining of parliamentary sovereignty. The central issue to why Britain has become an elective dictatorship is the decline in strength of parliament even though it is regarded formally as the sovereign body within the constitution. Recent developments and modifications have meant that Parliament’s effectiveness in holding the executive to account, restraining the executive and scrutinising the executive has become limited.

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          Firstly after acts like the 1911 House of Lords Act when the lord’s influence over finance was ended has slowly diminished and restricted the power of the lords.  Britain’s membership with the EU has meant vital decisions affecting Britain being made away from parliament. For example in the case of the Common Agricultural Policy in 1997, parliament was not involved.

Pressure groups have also meant that the executive has gained more power and dominance as they have often received advice from pressure groups resulting in increasing popularity within the executive.

Referendums have also undermined the ...

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