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The Role of the MP Aim: To identify how MPs represent their constituents (people from their local area) in Parliament.

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Presentation on theme: "The Role of the MP Aim: To identify how MPs represent their constituents (people from their local area) in Parliament."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Role of the MP Aim: To identify how MPs represent their constituents (people from their local area) in Parliament.

2 The Work of an MP Monday-Friday Mail/Research/Meetings Morning AM House of Commons 2.30-10.30pm (Can be later if there are important debates) Sat-Sun Work in Constituency

3 How Does an MP Represent Their Constituents in Parliament? Passing New Laws Question Time Adjournment Debates Debates Committee Work The Ten Minute Rule

4 How Does an MP Represent Their Constituents in Parliament? If you were an MP and had the opportunity to introduce a Private Member’s Bill in Parliament what new law or change in the law would you try to introduce?

5 Constituency Work Responding to Constituents Letters Surgery/Advice Clinic Attending Local Meetings Fact-finding Visits Contact with Local Mass Media Contact with Local Councillors Social Events

6 Pressures and Limitations On MPs Aim: To identify different groups who try to put pressure on an MP to support their views.

7 Pressures on an MP Constituents Political Party Local interests National Interest Family Ideological Beliefs Personal conscience Pressure Groups Media

8 The Whip System Every political party appoints ‘Party Whips’ It is the Whips job to make sure that MPs support their party and leader in key votes in the House of Commons. An MP who wants to be promoted and become a government minister must avoid ‘disobeying the whip’

9 The Whip System How Does It Work? Each week, the Whips issue MPs notes on the order of business in Parliament for the coming week. *One line whips asks the MP to attend the House *Two line whips expects the MP to attend and support the government *Three line whip demands an MP’s attendance and support.

10 The Whip System If an MP refuses to support their party he/she may have the Whip withdrawn. This means their party does not support them and they may not be selected to stand for the party in the next election. In extreme cases, an MP could be expelled from their party. MPs use the Whips to tell their party leader their ideas, concerns or feelings.

11 Politics – Task 2 1.Describe fully two ways that MP represent their constituents in the House of Commons.(4 marks) 2.Explain two pressures which MPs face when trying to represent their constituents.(4 marks)

12 The Powers of the Prime Minister Aim: Identify the main powers of the Prime Minister. Identify the limits to the Prime Minister’s power.

13 The Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been PM since June 2007. He was Chancellor for 10 years while Tony Blair was PM. Paid £187,611 per year. Official residence – 10 Downing Street. ‘First Among Equals’ – the PM is elected as an MP to represent a constituency

14 Powers of the Prime Minister Power of Patronage PM has the power to appoint people to a range of positions e.g. Cabinet, members of committees, life peers to House of Lords PM can ‘make or break’ a political career.

15 Powers of the Prime Minister Chairperson of Cabinet PM controls and dominates Cabinet Meetings – decides agenda and topics to be discussed. Cabinet ministers are bound by ‘collective responsibility’ – they must publicly agree with decisions or resign.

16 Powers of the Prime Minister Party Leader The PM can be confident that his own MPs will support any laws/measures. It is very unusual for MPs to vote against their own party – party whip system, would affect their chances of promotion, could cause the government to lose power.

17 Power of Patronage Give examples of types of positions the PM appoints people to. Explain why this power is important. Chairperson of Cabinet Explain how the PM controls/dominates meetings. Explain what is meant by ‘collective responsibility’ Party Leader Explain why it is unusual for MPs to vote against their own party.

18 Other Powers of the Prime Minister Spokesperson for the Government at home and abroad The media will report what the PM has to say about key issues and other world leaders will meet and discuss world issues with the PM. Link between the Queen and Parliament The PM meets the Queen on a weekly basis and keeps her up-to-date with what is happening in Parliament.

19 Other Powers of the Prime Minister Controls the Timetable of the Government The PM decides which issues are the top priorities and which laws needs to be passed first. Decides the Timing of Election The PM must call an election every 5 years but he can chose a time when the government is popular and has the greatest chance of being re- elected.

20 Other Powers of the Prime Minister PM Has Special Foreign and Defence Responsibilities Parliament can debate key issues such as the war in Iraq but the decision to go to war rests with the PM.

21 ‘President Blair 1997-2007’ It is argued that during his term in office Tony Blair tried to exercise more control over all areas of government. How did he do this?

22 ‘President Blair 1997-2007 Shorter Cabinet meetings – less chance for discussion. Public statements by ministers have to be approved by PM’s press office. Personal meetings with Cabinet ministers. Appoints Cabinet ministers who are Blair supporters. PM speaks to nation about a range of issues rather than the minister responsible.

23 Limits to the PM’s Power The PM has to ensure that his party is re-elected every 5 years. PM’s Question Time takes place in the Commons on a weekly basis – a poor performance can damage the PM’s reputation or cause a loss of support. House of Lords can delay bills for up to one year.

24 Limits to the PM’s Power PM has to manage unexpected events e.g. recent terrorists attack at Glasgow Airport. PM’s position as party leader could be challenged. Select Committees examine the work of government departments.

25 The Cabinet Aims: To identify the main role of the Cabinet Examine the limitations on the power of the Cabinet.

26 The Cabinet Meets weekly on a Tuesday Chaired by the Prime Minister who also decides the agenda. Contains heads of key departments, top law officers and government Whips.

27 The Powers of the Cabinet Make, check or endorse major government decisions. Settles disputes between government departments. Discuss issues and agree on government policy. Evaluate the success or failure of government initiatives. Remember the power of the Cabinet depends on the willingness of the Prime Minister to allow discussion, debate and decision-making to take place.

28 Government Ministers Each government department is headed by a Secretary of State (Minister). A Minister has many roles: In the Commons they will introduce and explain the purpose of new laws. They will defend the government’s actions in key debates. They will put forward new ideas. They are also responsible for the overall performance of their department. They will brief the Cabinet and PM about key issues. They are a public spokesperson for their department.


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