"Parliament carries out none of it's function adequately". Discuss

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“Parliament carries out none of its functions adequately”. Discuss.


In the UK, Parliament consists of the monarchy, the House of Commons and the House of Lords. It’s existed for centuries, and has stood the test of time, in that it still exists. However, a number of concerns have been raised over how well it carries out its functions, and how this effects the electorate. In this essay, I will evaluate how well Parliament really does function.

One of Parliaments functions is legislation – creating laws. As Parliament is the supreme legislature in the UK, it can make, amend and abolish any statute law it wants. This is called parliamentary sovereignty. It can also give power to other bodies to make laws on its behalf – these are the devolved assemblies and local governments.

Because there is usually a majority government in the UK (thanks to the First Past the Post electoral system, which over-represents the larger parties), laws can be passed quickly. This is because the majority of the government MPs vote in line with the government, and so the government’s policies can be passed easily. This differs from the US system, where it can take years to pass a single Bill, whereas it can take a matter of days in the UK.

However, this raises some concerns. Because of the majority government, Parliament could be seen as a ‘rubber stamp’ for the government – legislation is passed through Parliament, not by it. This could easily lead to an elective dictatorship, which is where the current government can do anything it likes, and can use their power to pass any bill, the only constraint being the need to win the next general election.

Another problem with this is that the majority of Parliament’s time is spent debating the government’s own political agenda, or manifesto. If all the policies come from the government, is Parliament really effective at passing legislature? However, as a counter to this, 13 Fridays are set aside for Private Member Bills. An example of this is the Bill on Bedroom Tax, proposed by Andrew George, which is currently in the second stage of being passed.

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I think that Parliament has not carried out this process well in the past, but now, with a coalition in power, there is a larger degree of debate around Bills – two parties are in control, not two.

Another function of Parliament is representation – linking the people to the government. This is carried out by the Commons – each MP represents a constituency, and if any member of the electorate wants to make a complaint, or suggest an improvement, they have someone in a position of power that can put this forth in Parliament.

The trustee model of ...

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