To What Extent Is the House of Commons Effective in Carrying Out Its Various Functions?

Topics: House of Lords, United Kingdom, Parliament of the United Kingdom Pages: 2 (725 words) Published: January 6, 2013
House of Commons Past Paper
C) To what extent is the House of Commons effective in carrying out its various functions?

The House of Commons has many functions including those of passing effective legislation, representing the views of the people they represent and holding the government to account to ensure that all decisions made are based purely upon the desire to benefit the public and to scrutinise all the actions of the executive.

The House of Commons operates under a Whips system, whereby appointed MPs ensure that all members of a particular party vote in favour of their leaders decisions. This can prevent MPs from operating independently of their party and can impede the scrutiny of government as MPs are likely to vote for their leader regardless of their own objections. The importance of party loyalty within the House of Commons is also likely to reduce the effectiveness of scrutiny as MPs rarely rebel against their party's wishes; this can prove particularly disastrous when the executive proposes new legislation as, due to the First Past the Post system which rarely produces coalitions, the government is likely to have a majority and so most MPs will vote in favour of the government.

The number of effective bills passed also depends on the governments agenda and not on the will of parliament as it is the executive that draws up the Parliamentary timetable, meaning that most issues discussed will be those which the government and not the Commons wishes to discuss as very little legislation is initiated by backbench MPs not in the government. When legislation suggested by backbenchers, Private Members Bills, are proposed they are largely ineffective without government backing. However, although Parliament might not initiate a large amount of bills, it can persuade and influence the executive through active discussions.

The Commons can scrutinise the executive in a number of ways. Prime Ministers Question Time, occurring for half an hour every...
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