Government “wages war” on Parliament

This outstanding article from the Independent is an absolute must read for the UK Constitution, PM & Cabinet and Parliament topics of Unit 2 and for Democracy and Parties (and to a lesser extent elections) in Unit 1. The Independent has suggested the Government is endeavouring to pass ‘law’ in the UK using a rule called the statutory instrument which would allow it to pass without debate.

This could be used to show the danger that Government poses to Parliamentary sovereignty. Firstly, remember, government is the party in power, whereas Parliament is the whole of the Lords and the whole of the Commons. If Cameron is able to push law through without debate in Parliament, it suggests that political sovereignty lies with the Government and not with Parliament.

Equally, it is a useful example for the problems of a weak majority – if the Government had a Blair-sized majority they would not need to resort to this. As it is, they have suffered embarrassing defeats at the hand of the Lords in addition to having rebellions within their own party. Therefore, this is a safe way to get legislation through but does highlight the weaknesses of the current government as a result of the May 2015 election returning such a small majority.

It also highlights a growing trend in recent years – the increasing willingness of the Lords to challenge Commons. For students looking for a reason that an unelected Lords is good, they have played a crucial role in checking the Government in the absence of a unified and credible opposition in the Commons (i.e. Corbyn and the Labour Party). However it could be argued that an unelected, and therefore unrepresentative, Lords is not democratic in the UK and therefore the Government is right to look for ways to circumvent their power.

Finally it could be used to support party ideology in Unit 1 as the Conservatives are hoping to use it to pass laws on fracking, fox hunting and tax credits (the latter being a major Lords defeat) but Labour are at least trying to overturn it!

A hearty example – know one example well, rather than lots of examples badly for your exams!!