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
    1410 pts
  4. Malcolm Ramsay
    1137 pts
  5. Tel
    Tel
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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

A Select Committee should operate as the Board of Directors of every Government Department, but meeting in public and holding the Minister  and the Permanent Secretary accountable to them on oath in public. It should not be open to the Prime Minister to reorganise Whitehall at every reshuffle. 

Edward Barrow
by Edward Barrow
5 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 9
Edward Barrow

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

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

At present Parliament is controlled by the government, which determines what legislation will go through and with what relative priority. One of Parliament's two main jobs is supposed to be to hold the government to account, but it is totally unable to do that while government controls it. Several changes are needed to achieve this switch of control, but we have to recognise how it is currently achieved. 1. The government has powerful patronage, so MPs who don't tow the party line are...

JimF
by JimF
5 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 14
JimF
by
JimF

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

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

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

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

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

I would include langauge in the UK Constitution that integrity, ethics, and the removal of all actual and potential conflicts of interests is paramount for maintaining public confidence.  For instance, the Constitution shall include (but not be limited to): 1.  that Parliament shall pass rules regarding MP's revealing all of their and their immediate family members' financial and business interests;  and 2.  that MP's shall abstain from voting on legislation that effects such financial...

John Z
by John Z
7 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 17
John Z
by
John Z
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