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A Level Politics UK and Ideologies > House Of Commons > Flashcards

Flashcards in House Of Commons Deck (56)
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What are the four key functions of the House of Commons

1) prime political forum - method of political debate
2) legislation- ensures executive accounts to parliament and gives parliament some leverage over government
3) scrutiny of polices and administration- expected to sustain, scrutinise and influence rather than block government
4) specific redress- specific issues are addressed here, either that were raised by constituents or through petitions


What is parliamentary sovereignty

Parliament has ultimate law making authority over all bodies in the UK

It can pass, amend or repeal any law without challenge from any other UK institution


What are some of the constraints on parliamentary sovereignty

-has been limited by the European Union whose laws have formal sovereignty over its members
-Human rights act 2000 means that all information which passes through government must comply with this act


Give an example where the UK has had to comply with EU laws

Imposition of fishing quotas and worldwide ban of sale of UK beef during the mad cow crisis


Proportionally what percentage of UK legislation comes from the EU



What is the ‘decline of legislature’

Parliament has lost its supremacy, the exec has taken over


What are the two theories about parliaments role

1) parliament should be a vigilant watch dog that effectively holds the government to account
2) seen as a debating chamber, a forum where grievances can be aired


What are the reasons for growing demand for reform

-rise of presidentialism
-decline in public confidence, apathy
-growth in direct democracy
-greater desire for speed and efficiency


How long does it take to averagely put a bill through parliament

9 months


Name and explain the scandal that hit parliament in 2009

The expenses scandal
This was where MPS spending got leaked to some tabloid newspapers, they were exposed to their ridiculous purchases which they put on expenses, most notably Douglas Hogg who had put £2000 on expenses to have his moat cleaned


What was the effect of the expenses scandal 2009

Upset the public and reinforced this idea that MPs were untrustworthy thus damaging democracy as well as their reputation


What changes did labour make to the House of Commons after 1997

-modified the timetable - family friendly hours
-PMQs taken to a single half hour slot
-elected chairman of select committees- allows for experts to be chosen reducing the power of whips rewarding loyalty


What was one of the most important reforms made by the coalition government

The fixed term parliament act 2011- removed power from PM who previously could call a general election whenever. Must now be every 5 years


What other reforms have been made to the House of Commons

-increasing MPS wage to £74,000 to stop them fiddling with expenses
-more free votes
-less MPs 650->600
-full time MPs


What factor is mostly to blame for the dominance of the executive over parliament

Party discipline, the whip system makes the exec very powerful as if they have both a majority and a strong whip they can pass almost any law


What controls how long each bill can be debated

The government
The parliament has no control over timetabling


How many days per year is the official opposition given to debate

3 days


Briefly evaluate:
“ is the House of Commons effective at holding the government to account “

✅select committees
❌public bill committee
❌highly effective whip system


How do select committees hold the government to account

Set there own agendas and act free of party control and so produce unanimous cross party reports

They can compel ministers for questioning


How do PMQs hold the government to account

Weekly and very public
Pm is questioned about there decisions

A very public test of confidence and back bench support of both the PM and leader of the opposition

The PM is able to see lists of questions put forward however supplementary questions often catch them unaware


What are some of the problems of the public Bill committee

What does this limit

There is a lack of subject specific scrutiny and a lack of expertise
Can damage the quality of legislation

Can damage how effective hoC holds govt to account


What are some of the issues of the whip system

What does this limit

The highly effective whip system in parliament forces MPs to “toe the line” and support the government
There are often career damaging consequences of defying whiten

Questions how effective govt can be held to account


What would a shadow cabinet ever consulted on

Bipartisan matters


How many days are set aside in the commons timetable for debate and criticism of the govt



What is the job of the opposition



How often do ministers answer questions in the commons

Once a month on a rota system


What is an issue with ministers questions

Whips plant sycophantic questions which are asked by docile backbencher to make the job easier for ministers


What does ministers questions demonstrate

Ministerial accountability


Where are the questions and answers published from ministers questions

in the Hansard the same day they are released


How many written questions are answered every year