To what extent can the UK be said to feature a "constitutional government"?

Essay by crazygurl33High School, 12th gradeA-, May 2004

download word file, 3 pages 3.0

Downloaded 56 times

A constitution is a system of rules which describes the structure and powers of government, the relationship between different parts of the government and citizen. When talking about a constitutional government, we really mean whether or not the United Kingdom has a constitution. This is a discussion which has been argued over many years. The sources of the constitution are also important, statue law, common law, royal prerogative, conventions, works of authority, treaties and laws of the European Union all contribute greatly to the constitution, making it what it is.

We must first look at the fact the UK has parliamentary democracy, and has the monarchy as the head of state. When looking at the monarchy we must state that its powers are strictly limited by parliamentary sovereignty and by constitutional restraints, the monarchy has hardly any political role. The argument against this is there is hardly any restraint on the parliament itself, except before the time before an election, however the role of law states that all are equal under the law and the government must respect the laws when making decisions and taking action, this shows that there is a constitution, and the government recognises the fact that there are constitutional principles they must adhere too.

However, parliamentary sovereignty means that parliament has ultimate political authority, it may not be overruled and can pass a law of any kind, yet it cannot pass laws that will require further parliaments to adhere too.

However, there are arguments that under the British 'constitution' there is too much power within the hands of the central government, and especially the prime minister who can act under the royal prerogative, for example he can declare war without needing the parliament's approval. Also, the Collective Cabinet responsibility states that all ministers must not disagree...