Does Government Dominate Parliament?Watch this thread
You mean the executive? isnt that at least the mahority of parliament members, anyway?
Dont they have certain functions?
Doesnt the rest of parliament have functions as well , outside the executive, but which contributes to the running of our democracy?
monarch (symbolic purpose)
house of lords (unelected but can scrutinise)
house of commons (only they have legitimacy due to electorates vote which gives them mandate)
Legislative body (government which is the elected body) is the only one available to make laws. They have the power to veto proposed legislations. - makes system democratic through mandate from electorate.
House of Lord (2nd chamber) being the unelected body are not allowed to make laws nor veto proposed legislation. They are only able to send it back through readings a maximum of 3 times due to the Salisbury Convention.
Government controls parliamentary timetable. With the use of partywhips and majority in house of commons they are able to vote out private member bills which usually contains moral issues.
the government still has to go through the formalities of the legislative process, which laws may be altered upon recommendation from house of lords for sending it back with draws media & public attention.
House of Lords keep check and balance on government (scrutinise laws)
Judges are given greater power to keep the government accountable so that it doesn't go beyond their powers (judicial review)
Today the current pm May's party isn't as strong as the previous administrations . There is an underlying rebellion but they are trying to keep together for the next general election by avoiding the vote of no confidence vote on PM May. In order to get a sufficient number to help her push through policies, she developed a Confidence and Supply Agreement Agreement with the DUP.
Explain it a bit further and add examples.I hope it helped.
The government are a group of people that govern a country. Currently in the UK, the Conservative party run government with Theresa May as leader. Parliament is a set of two chambers that represent the electorate by setting, passing and establishes- legislature, scrutinise government. The two chambers consist of the House of Commons, which are elected MP’s by constituency and the House of Lords who are elected by government. There is a current debate where parliament should be reformed in order to balance out the two houses.
The first way that government could dominate parliament is through government whips. The role of an MP is to represent their constituency when voting on legislations, government whips limit the power than MP’s have in order to favour the party and get their laws passed through. An example of this is when the Conservatives sacked the vice-chairman after rebelling against his party in 2017. This is seen to limit democracy and further the power of government. In contrast to the US congress, there are a separation of powers between government and congress as well as members of US congress promoting their own views and ideas rather than their parties. Therefore, it can be seen that government can dominate the House of Commons on almost any issue to pass through most laws that they wish. This is further backed up by the fact that unless there is a minority government, government will always have the most seats in the House of Commons. However, this isn’t always the case, in the European Union Withdrawal bill in 2017, 11 conservative MP’s voted against their party, and therefore government lost the bill which is an example of MP’s representing their constituency without punishment by the chief whip.
One reason why government doesn’t dominate parliament is the principle that all UK legislation be passed through parliament whether it is a common, statue or European law. This shows that government can’t pass through any law without getting the consent of the majority of MP’s voting and then the Lords. This is seen through in the House of Lords reform act in 2012, conservative backbenchers blocked the bill as well as the House of Lords blocked the bill. Consequently, government wasn’t able to process the law and ended up withdrawing it. As a result, it can be seen that when parliament is willing to block a law, it is able to block a law. Another example being the EU Referendum Bill in 2015. However, government can decide which laws are passed as around 11% of Private Members bills are passed from 1980-2010 whilst 95% of Public bills are passed, on top of this government proposes more bills than private members.
The limited power of the House of Lords could be another reason why government dominates parliament. The House of Lords is only able to delay laws for a year with government then passing it afterwards, there have only been 4 laws passed without the consent of the House of Lords since 1911 when it was made so that the Lords couldn’t block legislature in the Parliament Act. In addition to the limited power of the House of Lords, government can decide who the Lords are. Before ‘New Labours’ reign in 1997, there were around 1100 Lords and 40% were Conservative voters whilst 16% Labour, this was changed to around 800 Lords and a more equal divide of Labour and Conservative lords. The power of government for being able to decide the Lords is a strong point as it will also limit the Lords power to vote against government, just like a chief whip mentioned in a previous paragraph, it could result in discipline and as a result no voting against government. However, the Lords still have amended many bills since the Parliament act in 1911, and are able to send back laws for government to then redo, which most of the time, has been a success for the Lords and government.
In parliament, the House of Commons has the ability to dismiss government. If government is put through a vote of no confidence within the Commons, then there will be a vote whether to dismiss government. If there is a vote of no confidence, parliament needs a majority in order to dismiss government. This can be seen by the dismissal of James Callaghan in 1979. Ever since the 2011 Fixed term Act, a vote of no confidence has meant that there are 14 days to win the vote or government will be dissolved and there will be a general election. This means that the power parliament has is the ability to overturn government to enable the electorate to chose a party to rule, this gives a lot of power to the opposition, and especially due to the fact that two of the past three governments have been minority governments. However, the ability to call a vote of no confidence in the UK is limited, this is seen at no votes of no confidence since 1979.
In conclusion, it can be seen that in the uncodified constitution and unitary stature of the UK, government can dominate government when they have a large majority and strict whips, however in recent times the has not been a landslide since 2003 and therefore, in current circumstances, government cannot dominate parliament.