To what extent is Parliament sovereign
- Pages: 2
- Word count: 485
- Category: College Example
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Sovereignty traditionally lies with the monarch in the UK, this is out of date now although in theory it still stands. The present Queen has the ultimate power to reject new laws etc. although to interfere with Parliament proceedings would be seen as not supporting the Government at that time. Parliament is known to be sovereign over legal matters but other types of sovereignty such as political generally lay in the hands of the elected Government in truth even though Parliament could have control over everything.
Legal sovereignty lies within Parliament as having absolute and unlimited power within Britain, consulting only with the head of the state, the Queen at the moment. This is because Parliament decides what the constitution is, a very important fact that may be one of few reasons why it is still seen as sovereign today. There are currently no rules to restrict its actions for up to the 5 years in power at as time.
Joining into outside organisations and constitutions moves sovereignty elsewhere for example membership of Nato and the UN means we no longer act as an individual on matters of a global scale. Loss of sovereignty could have serious repercussions of not being able to guarantee our future, influence from institutions such as IMF in the late 1970s on the economic position we held and fiscal policies was due to Britain borrowing money.
Becoming a member of the EU has meant that the UK no longer holds total sovereignty, the main loss being over legislation (mostly business and industry), EU law prevails over UK law; Parliament no longer is the supreme law making body. Cases such as the ban on British beef end up at the European Court of Justice, as problems concerning two or more Member States require final authority to reside with neither of the states but a larger governing body ie if two countries have a dispute the European Court has the final say.
This relies on courts not picking and choosing which laws they shall abide by. A significant example of the loss of sovereignty for Britain was in the Factorame case in 1991. This judgement forced Britain to effectively forget its British Merchant Shipping Act and adopt the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy when putting a case against a Spanish fishing company operating in British waters.
This movement of sovereignty can be brought back to Parliament if it pulls out of all the organisations as it has the power to so really this is a controlled move and Parliament has the same sovereignty in or out of other organisations. Overall Parliament does seem to retain sovereignty as it is not in the hands of the media etc but as time progresses this question is becoming more debatable as it seems to relinquish the powers. Parliament’s power in reality seems to be going the same way as the monarch that it is kept for tradition rather than necessity.