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The Government Style of Britain

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The Government Style of Britain Lord Hailsham suggested the phrase elective dictatorship in his academic paper written in 1976. Elective dictatorship refers to the fusion of powers of the executive and the legislature; where the legislature is drawn from the executive therefore resulting in dominance of the executive over the legislature. Firstly the executive’s majority in the House of Commons reinforces the executives dominance. Elective dictatorship occurs in conjunction with this situation and that of the governing party, the executive. The party in power will by definition have more seats, i.e. more voting power than all the opposition parties. This means that any legislation or motion proposed by the governing party could be passed unless government MPs dissents, because only a simple majority is required. Due to the strength of the whip system to prevent MPs of the governing party voting against it, in practice government bills are extremely rarely defeated in the House of Commons. The government proposes usually around 95% of the bills passed. Also from 1997-2005 the Labour party had not lost a bill. Another reason why Britain is considered to be an elective dictatorship is the limited powers of parliament, which has led to the undermining of parliamentary sovereignty. The central issue to why Britain has become an elective dictatorship is the decline in strength of parliament even though it is regarded formally as the sovereign body within the constitution. Recent developments and modifications have meant that Parliament’s effectiveness in holding the executive to account, restraining the executive and scrutinising the... ... middle of paper ... ... in the process of legislation. The house of lords has the power to amend and reject bills and also the House of Lords are able to delay bills. The power of the executive has grown and the checks are in place to prevent abuse of this power. It is important for the legislature to keep a watch on the executive so the control is maintained and it does not slip into a dictatorship. These checks mean that Britain is not theoretically an “ Elective Dictatorship”, as rules still exist which means the executive can not have a dictatorial role. Britain currently is not an “ Elective Dictatorship”, as the Parliament still has some effectiveness in scrutinising the executive, however as Britain is falling more into a Prime-ministerial style government there is possibility that Britain can become an “Elective Dictatorship.”
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