Control limits parliament
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Discuss to the extent which party control limits parliament in performing its main function In the House of Commons there are many parties all fighting individually for control of the house, and to be in power and govern the land of the UK. To win the election and do this a party or coalition of parties needs a 326 majority to be able to form a government. This system creates a dominance in the house of commons if that majority is achieved sufficiently, as with Tony Blair’s landslide in 1997 where he had over a 150 seat majority, it is this kind of one party dominance I am going to be discussing in this essay and whether or not it limits parliaments main function to represent constituents and pass laws which benefit them.
Power in theory in this system should lie with the commons and the chamber as they should be able to voice their opinions, and fight the policies of government properly but obviously parliamentary control does limit this a huge amount as how can this be true if a party does control power the opposition will be outnumbered and effectively be a lame duck and completely pointless. It means that parliament and the mps who are not inn government or the majority party have to literally sit there and can no longer really help their constituents on the issues that matter to them this certainly limits parliaments main function especially in opposition parties in particular.
Secondly there is the argument that in politics and the majority party in particular there is a certain do as your told attitude, there is no more free thinking in parliament on a large scale anymore, mps are merely there to toe the party line as they cannot really step out of line as they may be deselected at the next election. This is a huge threat to there jobs basically but is very effective on behalf of the large party as it means that party whips will have to be used less, as most people in the party know that if they want to go far into the executive then they basically must cosy up to the ministers who are introducing proposals and vote the ways they tell them to vote. This is a huge problem as it may have an effect potentially on peoples rights as mps may vote for a bill to be passed that they know is wrong and harm people in a way but will do it anyway as there ministers have told them too, this hugely limits an mp and parliaments main job which is to represent constituents.
Next there is the as argument that the power of putting forward legislation is party controlled, due to the fact that the executive which is picked from the largest party in the commons puts forward pretty much all legislation this further supports the ways of elected dictatorship when parties have large majorities. Also the fact that it limits the main functions of parliament again as it means that the oppositions constituents are not truly represented as how can we call ourselves a representative democracy when in reality only the constituents who voted Liberal Democrat and Conservative are the ones who are truly represented. It means that really we are living in a sort of democracy where your views are only truly listened to if you live in certain areas more like a selective democracy rather than a representative one.
Another way in which party control limits parliament in its function is the whip system in which party members and in particular rebellious backbenchers are kept in line and pretty much made to vote in there parties favour this can be particularly important in which governments are formed with only a very small majorities e.g. labour in 1979, this means that even a government with a small majority can still hold a large power over parties who pretty much represent a 50/50 split in the way the country has voted. This limits parliaments ability to challenge government and further curtails the backbenchers ability to challenge there own governments policies for the good of there constituents and the country as a whole. Select committees deal with current issues in particular government departments e.g.
Home Affairs, party control influences this hugely as the makeup of these committees reflects the makeup of the commons so the more control you have in the commons the more say you have over departmental decision making this means that parliament even when it comes down to committees still has a problem when it comes to large majority governments as they cannot even check and challenge them there either, limiting the opposition parties main function yet again.
Finally the house of lords comes into play when talking about one party control in parliament, as in the current system after the failed attempts of lords reforms in 2012 and the 2007 white paper, the prime minister who is again leader of the largest party in the commons can appoint peers to the lords, as many as he wants, this limits parliaments function as if they are dominant in the commons by a big majority and have a lot of peers in the lords as well not even the powers of delay that the lords has will have to be used meaning that one party dominance not just limits the commons but the lords as well especially as its main function of being a check and balance to government, however this problem could be largely resolved if the Lords reforms that Nick Clegg had proposed had passed as the remainder of the appointed peers that wouldn’t have been democratically elected under his proposal would have been chosen by an independent commission not by the prime minister ending his influence to create a majority in the lords. In this country we have free speech the ability to say as we wish and this brings me to the arguments that party control does not largely limit the functions of parliament, as I said before