The UK Parliament

Overview

A topical and accessible introductory guide to the workings of the UK's Westminster Parliament, in both theory and practice. It outlines the history, structure and functions of the Parliament and provides a topical evaluation of how well those functions are performed. Especial attention is paid to the relationships the Parliament has with the government, the EU, devolved bodies, and the courts. There is also an analysis of the impact of recent and possible future Parliamentary reforms.Subjects covered include:* ...

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Overview

A topical and accessible introductory guide to the workings of the UK's Westminster Parliament, in both theory and practice. It outlines the history, structure and functions of the Parliament and provides a topical evaluation of how well those functions are performed. Especial attention is paid to the relationships the Parliament has with the government, the EU, devolved bodies, and the courts. There is also an analysis of the impact of recent and possible future Parliamentary reforms.Subjects covered include:* The UK Parliamentary System* The House of Lords* The House of Commons: Law-Making; Representing the People; Scrutinising the Executive* The Parliament and the European Union* The Parliament and the Devolved Bodies of the UK* The Parliament and the Courts* The Future of Parliament in an Age of Reform

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780748622610
  • Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
  • Publication date: 5/13/2009
  • Series: Politics Study Guides Series
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Moyra Grant is Senior Tutor of A Level Government at the Mander Portman Woodward College

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Table of Contents

List of boxes viii

List of tables ix

List of figures x

1 A Brief History of Parliament 1

The origins and history of Parliament 2

The functions of Parliament 5

The buildings of Parliament 8

Parliamentary procedures 11

Pomp and ceremony 14

Parliamentary officials 14

Parliament and monarch today 20

2 The United Kingdom Parliamentary System 24

Parliamentary sovereignty 25

Parliamentary government 29

Other current issues and controversies 34

Contrasts with other contemporary legislative assemblies 36

3 The House of Lords 45

The history of the House of Lords 46

The composition of the House of Lords 49

The powers and functions of the House of Lords 53

Arguments for and against the House of Lords 57

Reform of the House of Lords 59

The future of the House of Lords 63

4 The House of Commons: Making the Law 67

The roles of MPs, parties and whips 68

The Commons timetable 75

Making the law 76

Challenges to Parliament's law-making role 82

5 The House of Commons: Representing the People 87

Representation 88

The electoral system 93

The party system 97

The social composition of MPs 107

MPs and voters 108

MPs and external interests 115

The use and abuse of parliamentary privilege 117

6 The House of Commons: Scrutinising the Executive 121

Parliamentary government 122

Scrutiny and control of the executive 122

Evaluation of parliamentary control of the executive 131

Summary 138

7 Parliament and the European Union 143

The United Kingdom and the European Union 144

The changing relationship of the United Kingdom and the European Union 145

The issue of sovereignty 145

The European Parliament 147

The EuropeanCourt of Justice 149

Parliament and the European Union 150

A European Union constitution? 154

The impact of the European Union on UK political parties 157

The European Union and Westminster: future challenges 158

8 Parliament and the Devolved Bodies 162

The United Kingdom's unitary constitution 163

The processes of devolution 164

The consequences of devolution 169

Criticisms of devolution 175

The future of devolution 176

Conclusion 178

9 Parliament, the Courts and Civil Liberties 181

Parliament and the UK courts 182

The courts and the executive 184

Parliament and the judges 187

A Bill of Rights for the United Kingdom: the Human Rights Act 1998 191

'New' Labour authoritarianism on law and order 193

Parliament and the European courts 195

10 Conclusion: The Future of Parliament in an Age of Reform 199

The story so far 200

The House of Lords 201

The House of Commons 205

Westminster and the European Union 214

References 217

Index 221

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