Parliament

Should Parliament have tougher powers to check the work of the Government?

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The UK Parliament is one of the oldest representative assemblies in the world. Parliamentary sovereignty is a principal of the UK's uncodified constitution. This gives Parliament the highest legal authority in the UK, which means it can create or end any law. It has responsibility for checking the work of government and examining, debating and approving new laws. Despite its supreme legal authority, just how much power does Parliament have today? What should our constitution say about its power(s) to check the work of the government? What is the function of the unelected House of Lords and how much power do they really have?

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  1. John Z
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  2. Ian Smith
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  3. James Doran
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  4. Malcolm Ramsay
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  5. Tel
    Tel
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Select Committees should have more power to hold government to account.  Committees like the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have shown their effectiveness in uncovering poor working practices, areas for improvement and initiative for change. Yet their hard work is undermined by the ability of the government to simply ignore it.  By granting more extensive powers to these committees to call and enforce the attendance of witnesses, to hold civil servants more directly to account and to...

Helen Richardson
by Helen Richardson
18 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 10
Helen Richardson

Still two-tier parliament, lower & upper houses.  All lower house representatives are elected Upper house representatives could be a mix of elected or nominated. However in context of devolving power to regional assemblies, national (UK) parliament can be much smaller   Lower House Say 200-250 representatives 5 year terms Independent or party affiliated Constituency based – context of elections by PR Min age 21 Fit and proper person test A process for sacking...

Faisal Ahmed
by Faisal Ahmed
5 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 11
Faisal Ahmed

An MP's sole source of income shall be from their job as MP.  An MP shall not have a second job, nor do independent work such as consulting, lobbying, etc...  This proposal is even more relevent today in light of the Jack Straw and Malcolm Rifkind incidents revealed recently.  The concern here is an MP "selling" or "renting" their influence to achieve a result that may not be available for another constituent who cannot pay their "fee". 

John Z
by John Z
3 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 24
John Z
by
John Z

This is not a new idea. Indeed, despite its inclusion as a pledge in their coalition agreement, the Con-Dems have failed to introduce the so-called "power of recall" - a system whereby an MP's constituents can 'sack' an MP for "serious wrong-doing" (by forcing a by-election). Such a system must include checks and balances to ensure it is not abused, but "serious wrong-doing" should include not only such things as criminal activity, but also not following through on pre-election promises....

Jeremy Harpur
by Jeremy Harpur
15 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 11
Jeremy Harpur

There is some discussion of Church and State in the Values topic, but I think the role of the Church of England should also be covered here. Modern Britain is religiously diverse, and the proportion of the population with no religious affiliation is at 25% and rising. http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/census/2011-census/detailed-characteristics-for-local-authorities-in-england-and-wales/sty-religion.html This being the case, why should any one religion have a privileged place within the...

Tel
by Tel
31 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 19
Tel
by
Tel

There should be a very serious debate about whether members of parliament should be entitled to carry out any other paid work. If it is decided that they should be allowed, there should less be limitations. At the very least MPs should not be allowed to undertake any outside work connected with law reform or law enforcement.

Ian Smith
by Ian Smith
3 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 8
Ian Smith

There are three ideas that predominate when it comes to Lords reform: Fix how they're selected so that they're not "cronies" and party grandees. This is thought of as a way to fix their lack of independence and therefore legitimacy. It may also aid in giving the house more legitimate claim to expertise, which (seemingly uniquely in Britain) is perceived as a necessary part of the legislative process. Replace the house with an elected one. This usually entails suggesting that we have...

John Hackett
by John Hackett
1 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 20
John Hackett

The constitution should enshrine the democratic accountability of the security services, authorising intelligence agencies to undertake surveillance for counter-terrorism purposes, and requiring the relevant government ministers to present reports of their activities to parliament.

James Doran
by James Doran
17 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 26
James Doran

Although we have a freedom of information act in place at present it is of limited effectiveness because there are too many loopholes which officials and sometimes politicians use to avoid or delay giving proper answers. Democracy without knowledge of what is being done in our name is meaningless. We need a more effective right to freedom of information at two levels, one for everyone, giving a general right to know what has been done or is being planned to be done by all bodies carrying...

JimF
by JimF
9 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 16
JimF
by
JimF

Suggested clause for constitution: 'Members of Parliament must carry out their duties in a manner which is honest and trustworthy'   Idea behind the draft clause: Tiime and time again the public ask for honesty and trustwirthiness from politicians and over and over politicians let us down.  The constitution should state that these are core qualities and that all members of Parliament must carry out their duties in s manner which is honest and trustworthy.

Ian Smith
by Ian Smith
9 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 17
Ian Smith
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