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

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To What Extent is the House of Commons Effective in Carrying out Its Various Functions?

The mechanisms placed in the House of Commons to ensure its effectiveness are vital to the democracy and overall quality of governing within the UK. Whilst government domination proves to be the key hindrance affecting the quality of the Commons’ work, the checks and balances and opportunities to scrutinise produce an effective chamber in regards to the most important of its functions.

The primary function of the House of Commons is being a law-making body and the majority government in the House of Commons can be argued as having improved the speed with which bills can be passed by the chamber, especially in relation to states of emergency such as the Anti-Terrorism Laws in 2007. However, it comes with the tendency to pass legislature that hasn’t been fairly scrutinised and to not consider bills that have been proposed by MPs outside of government, overlooking needed legislation simply because it hasn’t originated from the executive, with only 72 Private Member’s Bills being passed under the Labour government from 1997 to 2010. The executive’s domination of seats also means government-sponsored bills can be quickly and assuredly passed in the first chamber, lessening their quality as there is less debate.

On the other hand, the House of Commons has defeated government control on various occasions, one example being on the 29 April 2009, in which a Liberal Democrat motion that all Ghurkhas be offered an equal right of residence was passed, in opposition to Labour policy. This shows a degree of efficiency within the non-executive areas of the Commons, particularly over controversial and publicised issues. Also, the recent coalition government, with a relatively small majority of 77 seats, has found it more difficult to logistically dominate votes and is therefore forced to provide sufficient scrutiny and amendment. These examples of the Common’s independence from...
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