British Political System

British Political System - 9/30/2010 AUnitarySystem

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9/30/2010 1 A Unitary System Local governments exist at the behest of the central government In late 1990s, Blair’s “devolution” policy gave Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland significant Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland significant regional autonomy and their own national parliaments—an element of federalism Lack of a Constitution Makes Parliament very powerful—the laws are not under a constitution Can make laws that restructure government— impossible inUS Constitutional system impossible in U.S. Constitutional system British courts rule based on common law The Monarchy Today’s monarch is mainly a symbol of Great Britain. Powers retained by today’s monarch are mainly not used or are formalities: Veto (not used) Forming a Government (not used) Conferring with the Prime Minister (an advisory role at best) Calling new elections (a formality) Appointing House of Lords (in reality, a formality of rubber stamping Prime Minister’s appointees
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9/30/2010 2 The Legislative Branch ‐‐ Parliament House of Lords : Established in 1265; Once all hereditary peers, named by the King; Before 20 th Century—was the upper house of Parliament, with the power to veto legislation by the House of Commons; Parliament Lords’ loss of power 1909 The Lords rejected the Liberal Government’s budget. The Liberals then introduced a Bill to end the power of the Lords to reject legislation approved by the Commons, which was passed under the threat of the creation of life peerages—which would be used to add Liberal peers. Parliament 1911 ‐‐ The Parliament Act of 1911 provided that: Money Bills approved by the Commons became law if not passed without amendment by the Lords within one month Lords within one month; Other bills become law without consent of the Lords after two years if they are passed by successive sessions of the Commons (In other words, Lords can delay a bill’s passage, but can’t veto it.) House of Lords 1958 ‐‐ The Life Peerages Act 1958 permitted the creation of peerages for life, with no limit on numbers. Hereditary peerages ceased to be given and life Hereditary peerages ceased to be given, and life peers, elected by the Commons, came to largely outnumber the hereditary peers.
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9/30/2010 3 House of Lords 1999 ‐‐ The House of Lords Act 1999 removed the right of most hereditary peers to sit and vote in the House. Allowed 92 hereditary peers to remain unti Allowed 92 hereditary peers to remain until the House was fully reformed .
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British Political System - 9/30/2010 AUnitarySystem

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