The united kingdom of great britain and northern ireland ch 2 lecture 2
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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland CH. 2 LECTURE 2. II. SOVEREIGNTY, AUTHORITY, POWER: HALLMARKS OF “ CONSTITUTION ”. Constitutional monarchy “ Her Majesty ’ s Government ” Unitarism Power centralized; all regional/local units controlled by center Devolution

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Ii sovereignty authority power hallmarks of constitution
II. SOVEREIGNTY, AUTHORITY, POWER: HALLMARKS OF “CONSTITUTION”

  • Constitutional monarchy

    • “Her Majesty’s Government”

  • Unitarism

    • Power centralized; all regional/local units controlled by center

    • Devolution

  • Parliamentary sovereignty (Parliamentary democracy)

    • Legislative gov. - Has the right to make or unmake any law

    • Westminster model- democracy rests on supreme authority of the legislature

  • Cabinet government

    • Control legislative agenda (collective responsibility)

  • Judiciary

    • Subordinate to Parliamentary laws


Ii sovereignty authority power sources of authority
II. SOVEREIGNTY, AUTHORITY, POWER: SOURCES OF AUTHORITY

  • Social compacts and Constitutionalism

    • No written Constitution

    • “Constitution of the Crown”

      • Documents, common law, legal codes, customs

  • Tradition primary source of stability


Ii sovereignty authority power legitimacy
II. SOVEREIGNTY, AUTHORITY, POWER: LEGITIMACY

  • The government of Great Britain has developed gradually; tradition is a primary source of stability

  • Great Britain’s constitution is unwritten (de facto) having evolved from different documents (Magna Carta, English Bill of Rights), common law, legal codes, and customs

  • The UK has rational legal legitimacy, stemming from its democratic constitution and government


Key point britain didn t become a democracy overnight
KEY POINT: Britain didn’t become a democracy overnight.

  • Evolution not revolution

  • Democratization was a slow process



Iii political institutions
III. POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS

  • Core of British system is parliamentary sovereignty

  • Parliamentary sovereignty—the doctrine that grants the legislature the power to make or overturn any law and permits no veto or judicial review.


Iii political institutions1
III. POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS

  • FUSION OF POWER

  • Executive: Prime Minister (PM)

    • Queen head of state; PM head of government

  • Legislative: Parliament

    • Legislative, executive, and judicial supremacy

    • House of Commons, House of Lords, Cabinet (PM)

    • The majority party IS the government

  • Judiciary: Supreme Court of UK


Iii political institutions house of commons
III. POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS: HOUSE OF COMMONS

  • Majority holds ALL of the power

  • Question time (PMQ) – hour when PM must answer questions from opposition

  • Speaker of the House presides – not necessarily a member of majority


Iii political institutions prime minister
III. POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS: PRIME MINISTER

  • Speaks for all Members of Parliament

  • Chooses cabinet ministers

    • Makes decisions in cabinet, with agreement of the ministers

  • Campaigns for and represents the party in parliamentary elections

  • Dissolves Parliament and sets date for next election


Iii political institutions collective cabinet
III. POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS: COLLECTIVE CABINET

  • Cabinet = PM and ministers (cab secretaries)

  • Head a major bureaucracy of the gov

  • Either members of the House of Commons or of the House of Lords.

  • Center of policy-making in British political system and the Prime Minister has the responsibility of shaping their decisions into policy

  • Do not vote; unity represents collective responsibility for policymaking

  • PM is “first among equals”


  • Three line whip: In the UK a three-line whip is an instruction given to Members of Parliament by the leaders of their party telling them they must vote in the way that the party wants them to on a particular subject.


The legislative process
THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS

  • Bills must be introduced in House of Commons and House of Lords.

  • Approval of House of Lords is not required.

  • Bill comes to the floor three times:

    • First: formally read at introduction, printed, debated in general terms, and after interval, given a second reading

    • Second: Undergoes detailed review by standing committee; then report stage during which new amendments may be introduced.

    • Third reading: bill is considered final form (and voted on) without debate.

  • Follows parallel path in the Lords

  • Finally, it receives royal assent (which is only a formality) and becomes an Act of Parliament.


Iii political institutions house of commons1
III. POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS: HOUSE OF COMMONS

  • PM would dissolve Parliament if:

  • 1) The life of Parliament is about to reach the statutory limit of five years

  • 2) party in power unable to muster majority of support b/c has most seats BUT lacks majority vote for key issues (loss of confidence)

  • 3) majority party wishes to capitalize on its popularity and seeks to gain more seats before five year limit


Iii political institutions house of lord
III. POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS: HOUSE OF LORD

  • Role in church, hereditary or appointed by monarch (approval by PM)

  • Upper house

  • Minimal influence – delay legislation, may add amendments

  • 753 members (not fixed)

  • Used to act as a judiciary body


Iii political institutions2
III. POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS

  • What People Mean When They Say:

    • Government (PM & Cabinet)

    • Government Officials (Civil Servants)

    • Whitehall (Executive Agencies)

    • Downing Street (Prime Minister)

    • Parliament (on Whitehall, too)

    • Westminster(collective term for gov’t institutions)


Monarchy
MONARCHY

  • Role of the queen:

  • Head of state (reigns but does not rule)

  • Commander-in-Chief (technically)

  • Four Roles:

    • Appoint PM

    • Advise PM

    • Give their assent to legislation

    • Dissolve Parliament

    • **Effects: dilute authority; insulated from partisan controversy


Iii political institutions the crown
III. POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS: THE CROWN

  • Policy influencing legislature

  • Proposals introduced, debated, and approved first in one body, then the other

  • Versions must be identical

  • Majority to pass

  • Royal Assent


We re comparing
WE’RE COMPARING

Prime Minister of UK

Serves only as long as he/she remains leader of majority party

Elected as MP

Has an excellent chance of getting his/her programs past Parliament

Cabinet members are always MPs and leaders of the majority party

Cabinet members not experts in policy areas: rely on bureaucracy to provide expertise

President of the US

Elected every four years by an electoral college based on popular election

Elected as president

Has an excellent chance of ending up in gridlock with Congress

Cabinet members usually don’t come from Congress (although they may)

Some expertise in policy areas; one criteria for their appointment; head vast bureaucracies


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