Parliament's Loss of Sovereignty

Parliament's Loss of Sovereignty

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Parliament's Loss of Sovereignty

Parliamentary Sovereignty is defined in two terms. These are legal and
political. The legal term means that Parliament can do what they want
to for example making laws, which can’t be overruled by anyone, and
that Parliament has unrestricted powers. There are three elements to
the Parliamentary, which are the Commons, the Lords and the Monarch.
Another thing about the legal term is that no parliament can pass a
law which would affect successors. The political term to this makes
the Parliamentary Sovereignty seem misleading. This is because the
monarch is now just symbolic and has no normal powers, the Lords isn’t
elected and the Commons is dominated by the majority party which
usually has less than 50% of the seats. A second thing about the
political term is that even though Parliament is legally all-
powerful, when in practise it can be seen as restricted. An example of
this is when Margaret Thatcher was allowed to pass the unpopular poll
tax. In result to this, she lost the following elections which showed
that the people had power over the government, not physically, but
enough which pressurises the government.

There are three issues which question Parliamentary Sovereignty. These
are EU laws, HRA and Devolution.

EU laws have dramatically affected Parliamentary Sovereignty as the UK
are members of the EU. When UK and EU laws contradict, the European
law always overrules the UK law, which is seen, as that Parliamentary
Sovereignty is weak because one of the legal terms was that no one can
overrule UK laws but here we see that it does. So we can say that
Parliamentary has lost some Sovereignty, as there is a superior body
to the British Parliament. However on the other hand it can be see as
that only UK can change the law and also the UK could leave the EU if
they wanted. So here we can see that the legal term is still in effect
as here the UK is superior as they are the one’s who make the

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The Human Rights Act outlines the basic rights and freedoms of any
person. It can also affect Parliamentary Sovereignty. This is because
the UK’s HRA as to fit with the EU convention. An example of this is
when the UK had to outlaw corporal punishment in state schools. This
weakens Parliamentary Sovereignty because here again as UK are members
of the EU and the EU is superior so the UK had to change a law which
contradicts with the legal term that Parliamentary Sovereignty is
supreme. However as before, they could leave the EU and also they are
the one’s who change their own laws which shows they still have
Parliamentary Sovereignty.

Devolution is when a supreme power gives its powers to local areas.
This has affected Parliamentary Sovereignty. In this case Parliament
passed a law for the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly to take
power of themselves. This is seen to weaken Parliamentary Sovereignty,
as UK Parliament is no longer supreme in these countries as it has
lost its powers. However it also can be seen as it has strengthened
Parliamentary Sovereignty as both governments cannot make laws which
conflict with UK laws, the UK still has control on Government
legislation and they can revoke the law on devolution. So we can say
that devolution has weakened Parliamentary Sovereignty is some ways
but strengthened it in other ways.

Overall I think that Parliament is still Sovereign. Even though there
are some issues which affect it, Parliament can go back on devolution,
remove the HRA and leave the EU. However Parliament doesn’t want to go
against this as they would lose faith and power in the people like
Margaret Thatcher so they follow some restrictions which are possible
to be broken out of.
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