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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  4. Malcolm Ramsay
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  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

It seems odd that there is no mention yet of the Select Committees. Margaret Hodge in particular gets a lot of attention in the media, and although I gather the government always has a majority I think the fact that they have their own chair person who may not be from a government party greatly improves the public perception of the House of Commons. I think they do a good job and I wonder whether they need to be strengthened further and if so how. It seems to me that their independence...

Alan Ray-Jones
by Alan Ray-Jones
10 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 11
Alan Ray-Jones

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

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
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