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
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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 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

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

As membership of political parties has declined massively in the past few decades, donors have become increasingly central to British politics. It also appears to be the case that - particularly big donors - are fundamentally undermining the functioning of our democracy.  There should be restrictions on the amount of funding the political parties can receive - indeed, I would even recommend that they are forced to depend only on 5-10 pound joining fees. They would need to work harder to...

Harry Blain
by Harry Blain
12 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 27
Harry Blain

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

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

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

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 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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