In the pub – Government vs Parliament

The government and Parliament are not the same thing – Parliament is all 650 MPs plus the House of Lords; government is the winning party. Understanding these differences is crucial as one function of Parliament (which is the sovereign body in the UK, i.e. the source of all political power) is to scrutinise the government, to make sure they are acting lawfully and constitutionally. Most students confuse the two as the government, usually, holds a majority in Parliament, and therefore can usually force through whatever they want. It could be argued the Coalition has changed this, yet the Coalition has remained remarkable strong throughout it’s time in office (politically at least, if not in the media).

This example is therefore notable as it is one of the first defeats that the government has faced on it’s own bills since 2010. Sadly, the bill is neither too exciting nor particularly large as an issue, but nonetheless it does demonstrate that Parliament can effectively stop the government from acting in some circumstances. The top students would also comment that perhaps, as this bill is only small and late on in the Parliamentary term, Parliament have shown an effective check but only on an issue of little importance, and therefore this does not prove their power. This is an example that can therefore work for both sides of a 25/40 mark essay in Unit 2 and worth knowing in advance of the exams.