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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  5. Tel
    Tel
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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is theoretically possible for Parliament to pass a bill to become law that includes multiple unrelated topics.  (For example, a defense bill could include spending on not just the military, but also roads, hospitals, schools, etc...).  This is a sly method of legislating by including items that individually may not have the legislative support to be enacted, but by grouping these items into one legislative bill, it will include a little something for multiple constituencies, which will...

John Z
by John Z
8 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 13
John Z
by
John Z

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
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