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
    2085 pts
  2. Ian Smith
    1814 pts
  3. James Doran
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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

If anyone is in any doubt about the need for this, then watch the BBC2 documentary 'Inside the Commons - Reinventing the House' broadcast last night http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b05483ph/inside-the-commons-4-reinventing-the-house It illustrated perfectly how the processes, practices, supporting systems and even the fabric of the Palace of Westminster are breaking down and not fit for purpose for a state operating in a modern global world. In any other context the whole picture...

steveg33
by steveg33
4 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 16
steveg33

Suggested constitution clause: 'In general, all communications to and from Members of Parliament and civil servants shall be made publicly available.  Such transparency of information may be restricted by Parliament where necessary for the purposes of national security, the national economy, public safety and order, the integrity of the individual, the sanctity of private life, or the prevention and prosecution of crime.'     Idea behind the draft clause: Openness is a key component...

Ian Smith
by Ian Smith
13 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 21
Ian Smith

A democratic constitution should have no place for an unelected legislature.

James Doran
by James Doran
2 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 30
James Doran

Let's say no to Pro Plus politics, the late night, disruptive and tactical voting that goes on in parliament. Important decisions should be made by MPs in normal working hours when (a) the MPs are alert and (b) all MP's have a chance of getting to the vote easily without having to seriously compromise their family and social lives. This will make for better decision making (awake) by better MPs (normal people with social and family lives).

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

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

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

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

The UK government should be required to publish the annual budget four months in advance of it being laid before parliament, to enable greater public and parliamentary scrutiny of it.   In a lecture to the London School of Economics [http://www.lse.ac.uk/publicEvents/events/2015/03/20150316t1200vLSE.aspx], the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon called for a reform to the way in which the UK government sets the budget and allows for parliamentary scrutiny. As an alternative,...

ConstitutionUK
by ConstitutionUK
10 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 9
ConstitutionUK

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
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