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

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?Parliament carries out none of its functions adequately?. Discuss. [40] 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. ...read more.


However, the Lords cannot stop legislature relating to the governments manifesto, as outlined in the Salisbury convention. This is democratic, as the electorate has voted in the policies of the manifesto, and it would be unjust to stop them. As a further counter, however, because of the current coalition there is not one clear government manifesto, so the Convention is no longer in play. Another issue with representation is that the FPtP does not represent the majority of the electorate?s views ? in the 2010 election, 52.8% of votes cast were wasted. If the electorate is not fairly represented, then all illusion of a democracy falls away. I think that Parliament falls at this hurdle, as it does not represent the majority of the public?s views, so is not a democratic process. A third function of Parliament is to promote legitimacy ? governments that govern through Parliament hold more legitimacy than those that do not. This is because Parliament stands for the public ? it?s considered a representative assembly, so when it passes a law, it is as if the public has passed it. However, because it?s un-elected, the House of Lords holds no democratic legitimacy. Also, because of the numerous scandals that surround the MPs of the Commons, for example the expenses scandal, where it was uncovered that one MP claimed a duck house on expenses, respect for Parliament is declining. ...read more.


One of the biggest disadvantages of select committees is that they cannot actually make any real changes. They can advise the government, and report their findings, but they can?t do anything further than that. I think that Parliament scrutinises the government well, although there are a few issues that could be addressed ? specifically the paradox that arises when the government tries to scrutinise itself. Another function of Parliament is recruiting and training ministers. All ministers of Parliament must be either an MP or a peer. In order to become a frontbencher, they must first gain experience on the backbenches by participating in debates and asking parliamentary questions. This is effective, as it gives them and understanding of how Parliament and government work, and how policies are formulated and developed. However, there are problems with this system. Ministers are only recruited from a select pool of talent ? the majority party. Also, although they do gain some experience in debates, MPs and peers do not gain experience in leading a department or any managerial role. I think that Parliament does perform this function well, but it is such a marginal aspect of Parliament, it has little effect on the overall performance of Parliament. To conclude, I feel that Parliament does carry out the majority of its functions adequately, but there is room for improvement on some sections, such as representation, that need to be addressed in order for Parliament to run efficiently and democratically. ...read more.

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