The Government Style of Britain Essay

The Government Style of Britain Essay

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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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