(5) How effective are the functions of Parliament? Continued


A level Governing the UK - 2C ( Parliament) Mind Map on (5) How effective are the functions of Parliament? Continued, created by Marcus Danvers on 11/04/2013.
Marcus  Danvers
Mind Map by Marcus Danvers, updated more than 1 year ago
Marcus  Danvers
Created by Marcus Danvers over 9 years ago

Resource summary

(5) How effective are the functions of Parliament? Continued
  1. Scrutiny & oversight
    1. Strengths
      1. Parliament does not govern the UK, but it checks and constrains the government – referred to as ‘calling the government to account’.
        1. Ultimately this creates a ‘responsible government’ and so Parliament identifies any mistakes the government may make.
          1. The oversight is underpinned by conventions of individual and collective responsibility (e.g. Ministerial Code, 1999 & Cabinet Manuel, 2011).
            1. Ministerial Code 1999
              1. Cabinet Manuel, 2011).
            2. Weakness
              1. Majority of MPs in the Commons belong to the majority party and so their primary role is to support the government of the day rather than scrutinise it.
                1. Question time is often weak – oral questions often lead to short responses which are aimed at embarrassing ministers rather than careful scrutiny of their policy or actions. Prime Minister’s questions is often a party-political battle between PM and leader of the opposition.
                  1. Select Committees are seen as more effective than Question time – but, the government has a majority on each committee. Individual committee appointments are influenced by the whips who ensure that loyal backbenchers sit on key committees BUT – committee chairs have been elected by the Commons since June 2010;
                    1. Select Committees have no executive power – they can criticise government, but they cannot change government policy
                2. Recruitment and training of ministers
                  1. Weakness
                    1. Ministers are recruited from a limited pool of talent: mainly MPs of the largest party in the Commons.
                      1. Parliamentarians require speech-making skills and learn how to deliver sound bites, but the not necessarily acquire the bureaucratic and management skills to run a government
                        1. Fewer ministers have experienced a career outside of politics.
                        2. Strengths
                          1. Parliament acts a major channel of political recruitment. In the UK, all ministers MUST be MPs or peers.
                            1. Before becoming frontbenchers, they must be backbenchers so that they experience debating, asking parliamentary questions and sitting on committees to learn their political trade.
                              1. This helps ministers to understand how government works and how policy is developed.
                            2. Legitimacy
                              1. Strengths
                                1. When governments govern through Parliament, their actions are seen as ‘rightful’ and to be obeyed. This is for two reasons:
                                  1. the first, Parliament, in a sense, stands for the ‘public’ as a representative assembly and as such, when a measure is approved, there is the sense that this has been approved by the people.
                                    1. Secondly, Parliament’s approval leads one to assume that government’s actions have been debated and scrutinized and weaknesses have been exposed.
                                  2. Weakness
                                    1. House of Lords is not elected and therefore has no democratic legitimacy.
                                      1. Parliament has been undermined by scandals ‘cash for honours’ and ‘cash for questions’
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