To what extent does parliament control the executive?

Essay by lucyhthomasHigh School, 11th grade March 2014

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Lucy Thomas AS Politics

To what extent does parliament control the executive power?

The UK has a parliament government system whereby the executive and the legislature are interconnected and the government is drawn from the majority party. This is unlike the United States presidential system in which the legislature and the executive are distinct. Due to an increasing presidential style from prime ministers it could be said parliaments power is diminishing. However, the recent development of independent bodies in parliament and the use of veto in the House of Lords continue to scrutinise the executive.

The government usually has an overall majority. This is a result of the United Kingdom's electoral system, we use First Past the Post (FPTP) where the parties with the most votes are the most successful as they are able to use whips to push through their own bills with little resistance, as shown by New Labour.

However, in some cases there can be weaker majorities such as in coalitions and minority governments, which are more common when using the AV system. The current coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats however, still has a majority that makes it difficult for parliament to scrutinise and control the executive power.

Furthermore, the increasing power of the prime minister and in some cases a more presidential style as seen by Blair has led to many MPs becoming very loyal to their PM. As a result the term 'lobby fodder' has been coined, whereby backbench MPs who have little political power or influence in their own right when they vote on a topic in Parliament vote as told to do so by their whips. Whips are very influential within the political system and have can threaten suspension from the party which often leads to members toeing the party...