(5) What are the principles of our constitution?


A level Governing the UK - 2C (The Constitution) Mind Map on (5) What are the principles of our constitution?, created by Marcus Danvers on 09/16/2013.
Mind Map by Marcus Danvers, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by Marcus Danvers over 9 years ago

Resource summary

(5) What are the principles of our constitution?
  1. Parliamentary sovereignty
    1. Defines location of supreme constitutional power. It is legal sovereignty that enables Parliament to make, unmake or remove any law it wishes.
      1. Accuracy & relevance is questioned
        1. Parliament is not politically sovereign
          1. It is subject to political constraints such as pressure groups, public opinion, views of trading partners (USA/EU) & policies of international organisations (EU/UN).
            1. There is also a shift towards popular sovereignty (use of referendums, citizen’s rights). Finally, it may no longer be legally sovereign due to EU membership.
        2. Rule of Law
          1. traditionally seen as alternative to codified constitution, showing that even without an element of higher law, the government is still subject to legal checks and constraints. It is not above the law.
          2. Parliamentary government
            1. The structure of the constitution is based on the powers of the executive & Parliament fusing. Government & Parliament overlap in their institutions – in effect, Government governs in and through Parliament.
              1. Concern is held towards the combination of the principle of parliamentary sovereignty and parliamentary government.
                1. E.g. the close relationship between government & Parliament could lead to the executive using sovereign power of Parliament for its own purpose (elective dictatorship).
              2. Constitutional monarchy
                1. Monarch remains constitutionally significant despite no longer being absolute.
                  1. During c.19th most of the remaining powers of the monarch were transferred to ministers accountable to Parliament, particularly the PM.
                    1. Role of the monarch is to ‘promote popular allegiance’ (Heywood, p.175) and act as a symbol of political unity above conventional party politics.
                      1. According to Bagehot – the monarch has the right to be informed, consulted, to warn and to encourage.
                      2. EU membership
                        1. Draws into question the role of Parliament & whether is can be viewed as a sovereign legislature.
                          1. Within the UK context, sovereignty is best considered as ‘parliamentary sovereignty within the context of EU membership’.
                            1. It effects parliamentary sovereignty in three ways…
                              1. EU law is higher than statute law – established by Factortame case in 1991
                                1. Some EU bodies (European Commission) have supranational powers EU bodies can impose their will on member states regardless of he stance taken by national legislatures.
                                  1. Decline of the ‘national veto’ – this served to protect parliamentary sovereignty by allowing any member state to block EU measures that threatened national interests.
                                    1. But, a large proportion of decisions are made by the EU’s decision-making body, the Council of Ministers, which is called ‘qualified majority voting’.
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                                Creating the Constitution
                                Selam H
                                The Constitution and Bill of Rights
                                Niat Habtemariam
                                (4)Source of the British constitution
                                Marcus Danvers
                                (7) A Codified Constitution for and against
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                                (1) Constitution
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                                (3) Purpose of a constition
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                                (2) British Constitution
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                                (6) Comparisons between US and British constitution
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                                (8) Check and Balances
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                                (9) Constitutional change under labour
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                                10) What constitutional reforms have the coalition proposed?
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