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Flashcards in Parliament Deck (105)
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What is the Queen's role within Parliament?

- Current UK Monarch Queen Elizabeth ||
- The Queen Plays a constitutional role in opening and dissolving Parliament and approving Bills before they become Law.
- Inward duties: Parliament must be opened, orders in council have to be approved, Acts of Parliament must be signed and meetings with the PM must be held.
-Outward duties (representing Britain to the rest of the World): entertaining visiting Heads of State and making State visits overseas to other countries, in support of other diplomatic and economic relations.
- The Queen has to remain strictly neutral to political matters- unable to vote or stand for election.


Define the Frontbenchers role within Parliament and give a recent example:

-Theresa May- current Frontbencher for Conservative Party
- Sits on the front most bench in Parliament
- Gov = Right
- Opposition = Left
- All members of the cabinet- if in the party that forms the government
- Assigned different areas
- Made up of MP's
- Assigned by PM - he has complete power over them.


Define the Backbenchers role within Parliament and give a recent example:

- Julie Cooper- member of the Labour Party
- MP's or legislator
- Could include senior(s)
- Do not hold ministerial or shadow ministerial roles
- Party in power still has these
- No loyalty to gov- free to give ideas
- Freedom to speak- brings problems to Whips


Define the Whips role within Parliament and give a recent example:

- Mark Harper- Chief Whip - Conservative Party
- Ensure party discipline in a legislature
- Whips are a party's 'enforcers' - who typically offer inducements and threaten party members to ensure that they vote according to the official party policy
- Make sure elected representatives of their party's are in attendance when important votes are taken
- Talk to backbenchers and persuade them to vote in favour and sit on frontbench
- There are also opposition benches


Define the Speakers role within Parliament and give a recent example:

- John Bercow
-Determines who speaks (in the house)
- Must remain non-partisan (not biased/one sided towards one party/person)
-Takes up residence in Westminster Palace.


Define the Life Peers role within Parliament and give a recent example:

- Lord Sugar
- Life Peers play a more active role unlike hereditary peers who did not attend regularly
- The Life Peerages Act 1958 altered the composition of the House of Lords because it introduced more people from different professions and more women. Before the Act, the House of Lords had been made up exclusively of hereditary peers.


Define the Elected Hereditary Peers role within parliament and give a recent example:

- Consists of ranks- Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount and Baron.
- 800+ peers inherited (hold titles).
- Current elected hereditary peer- Charles Wellesley, 9th Duke of Wellington.
- The House of Lords Act 1999 removed the entitlement of most of the hereditary peers to sit and vote in the House of Lords and of the 92 hereditary peers who retain (keep) their seat in the Lords, 75 were elected by their fellow hereditary peers.


Define the Leader of the House of Lords role within parliament and give a recent example:

- Current leader of the House of Lords is: Baroness Stowell of Beeston.
- Leads government benches.
- Gives guidance to the House on matters of order and procedure.
- Takes part in formal ceremonies in the House, such as the State opening of Parliament.
- Conducts Government business in the Lords - jointly responsible with the chief whip.


Define 'Parliamentary Government' in its simplest form:

A form of government that has 5 parts.


What are the 5 principles of Parliamentary Government?

1. Collective Government
2. Separate Head of State
3. Parliamentary elections decide the government
4. The legislature can dismiss the executive
5. The executive and legislative branches are fused


What are the 3 main parts of Parliamentary Government?

1. Monarch/Monarchy
2. Elected Representatives
3. The Government - Prime Minister (The Executive).


What are the 6 principles/features of the Westminster Model:

1. Parliamentary Sovereignty
2. An Uncodified Constitution
3. Cabinet Government
4. The first-past-the-post electoral system
5. A two-party system
6. A Unitary State


Why does the Westminster model have 2 virtues (features/assets)?

Because we (the British) have tried to teach other people about it.


What are the 2 virtues of the Westminster Model?

Representative Government and Responsible Government


Explain the 2 virtues of the Westminster Model:

Representative Government: government takes place through parliament, where decisions are taken by elected representatives of the people. The people do not make decisions on public policy directly, electing MP's to do so on their behalf.

Responsible Government: The government is accountable to parliament for its actions, and accountable to the people through elections. Collective responsibility means that the government can be forced to resign by parliament. Individual ministerial responsibility means that minsters must account for their actions in parliament. Voters can remove the government at a general election.


Explain how the executive and legislative branches are fused:

(key feature of parliamentary gov)

There is overlap between membership of the two branches, with the government consisting of members of the legislature.


Explain how the legislature can dismiss the executive:

(key feature of parliamentary gov)

The government is accountable to parliament which can remove the government through a vote of no confidence. The government may be able to dissolve parliament by calling a general election.


Explain how parliamentary elections decide the government:

(key feature of parliamentary gov)

Governments are formed according to their strength in parliament. The person who commands a majority in parliament, usually the leader of the largest party, becomes prime minister.


Explain what collective government means:

(key feature of parliamentary gov)

The executive branch is led by a PM who, in theory at least, is 'first among equals' in a cabinet of senior ministers.


Explain what is meant by separate head of state:

(key feature of parliamentary gov)

The head of the executive branch (the prime minister) is not the head of state. The latter is often a ceremonial role with little political power, as in the case of the UK monarchy.


What is Bicameralism?

- A political system in which there are 2 chambers in the legislature.
- The lower house is usually elected in a general election and tends to be the dominant chamber.
-The composition (structure) of upper houses varies: they may be directly elected or indirectly elected (appointed by ministers) or be a hybrid (mixture) of both.


What are the benefits of bicameralism?

- The upper house provides checks and balances (both houses balance each other out), provide for greater scrutiny and revision of legislation and may represent different interests (e.g. states in a federal system).


What problems are associated with bicameralism?

1. institutional conflict between the two houses can produce legislative gridlock (gridlock refers to a situation when there is difficulty passing laws that satisfy the needs of the people)
2. an indirectly elected upper house may frustrate the will of the democratically elected lower house.


What house is usually dominant?


The lower house


What chamber is The House of Lords in UK legislature and is it an elected or unelected chamber?

The HoL is the upper chamber in the UK legislature and is mainly unelected but either chosen by the PM or a hereditary peer.


When was the House of Lords founded?

Founded in 1707 after Act of the Union stating there would be a second chamber.


Give some details of the House of Lords:

- Have the right to review bills passed in the House of Commons and veto it to prevent it from becoming law.
- The 1911 Parliament Act restricted the veto to two parliamentary sessions which was subsequently reduced to 1 year after the 1949 Parliament Act.
- Exists to have expert analysis and review parts of government policy from the arts to tax credits to domestic policy.
- People like Lord Sugar are members of The House of Lords because they have the knowledge on business and venture capitalism unlike many normal members of the House of Commons.
- Membership of the House of Lords is also higher: 650 for the Commons and currently 822 for the Lords
- Scrutinise every detail of the bill- tax credits.


Define 'Royal Assent' in its simplest form:

The Queens Approval


What is meant by a 'Bill'?

A legislative proposal that has yet to complete the parliamentary legislative process.


What is meant by an 'Act'?

A legislative proposal that has completed the legislative process and entered into law.