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 starter activity

Which is the House of Lords and which is the House of Commons? Write down
as many differences as you can between the two institutions.

 Why do we have Parliaments? Aims To understand the functions of legislatures To evaluate the pros and cons of bicameral systems .

 Your task  Read Watts. p. 183 and explain the origin and meaning of the word ‘legislature’ .

‘parler’ (talk) Legislature – from Latin for ‘legis’ (law) and ‘latio’ (proposing) Representative assembly empowered to make laws A medieval parliament .What is a legislature?    Parliament – from French word.

263 and create a spider diagram identifying the key functions of parliament. p. Your task  What do parliaments do? Read Roberts. .

Why do some analysts think this is a key strength of Britain’s constitutional setup? Parliament is the UK legislature Supreme lawmaking body Convention that legislation should be fully discussed before it is put to a vote .Law-making    The judiciary is separate from the executive in the UK.

the HoC is expected to reflect public opinion and respond to widely held grievances Minority viewpoints should at least be allowed a hearing To what extent do you think the HoC truly represents minority groups? .Representation   As an elected body.

g.Debate  Apart from discussing legislation parliament is regarded as the proper place to debate issues of national concern even if they cannot be affected by a change in the law. Do you think important issues of the day are properly debated in the Commons? . e. September 2002 Parliament recalled to discuss possibility of war in Iraq PMQs.

Scrutiny of the executive  Peter Haine. who recently resigned from his Cabinet post following an investigation by the Electoral Commission  Under the principle of accountability. ministers are accountable to parliament for their decisions Governments can be dismissed if they lose the confidence of a majority of MPs .

Recruitment of ministers  By convention all ministers must be members either of the Commons or of the Lords (e. Baroness Amos & Lord Falconer both served in Blair’s govt.)  In other words. members of the executive must also be part of the legislature (unlike the USA) Baroness Amos. of State for International Affairs . Sec.g.

from which executive is largely drawn Support from MPs provides the executive with legitimacy Loss of a vote in HoC may lead to a vote of confidence in the executive .Legitimation    Elected part of Parliament.

p. Homework  Read Watts. Use the BBC news website or other sources to find examples to illustrate each of the points. .183 and create a scales chart summarising the advantages and disadvantages of bicameral systems.

 Your task Watch the clip from ‘Parliament Uncovered’ and complete a spider diagram similar to the one below: HoC Monarch HoL Parliament Speaker MPs Committees .

How is the US Congress different from the UK Parliamentary system? Is this any better? .264 (Item A).B & D list the different roles of the Houses of Commons and Lords. Your task    Look at the cartoon on p. What point is the cartoonist making? To which function of Parliament does this refer? Using items A.

. Plenary  Give arguments for and against recruiting ministers from the House of Lords or having ‘cabinets of all the talents’.