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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  4. Malcolm Ramsay
    1137 pts
  5. Tel
    Tel
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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
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