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Political Institutions of the United Kingdom

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1 Political Institutions of the United Kingdom
Radina Mutskova

2 Westminster Parliament- Two Houses (Bicameral)
House of Commons “Lower House” House of Lords “Upper House”

3 Parliament Fixed-term Parliaments Act (2011): Introduced fixed-term elections (set date, cannot be changed by incumbent) for the first time to the Westminster parliament; elections must be held every 5 years PM can change date of elections within 2 months “vote of no confidence” exception Censure motion Motion of confidence gone bad Motion of no confidence Defeat of a supply bill

4 Prime Minister (PM) and Cabinet
Majority Party/ Coalition chooses member of Parliament (MP) as party leader Appoints Cabinet from MPs One minister per major bureaucratic subdivision PM Initiates 90% policy with cabinet PM and Cabinet defend policy during “Question Time” “collective responsibility”- Cabinet supports PM If cabinet member publically disagrees with PM, expected to resign position

5 House of Commons Two party system (650 seats)
Majority party/ coalition Loyal opposition Single member district voting One candidate per party Candidate with most votes wins Candidate does not have to reside in district Party leaders often run in “safe” districts

6 House of Commons Debate Speaker of the House presides Nonpartisan
Allows all to speak Question Time One hour four times a week, PM and Cabinet defend policy The foremost privilege claimed by both Houses is that of freedom of speech in debate; nothing said in either House may be questioned in any court or other institution outside Parliament

7 House of Lords House of Lords Act (1999): no more (than 92) inherited seats Lords Temporal (unfixed number) Can be partisan, recommended by PM Lords Spiritual (26 members) Nonpartisan, officials of the Church of England The Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) and Anglican churches in Wales and Northern Ireland are not represented May delay legislation, debate technicalities House of Commons may remove additions by simple majority House of Lords may be empowered in the future

8 Passing a Bill

9 House of Commons Composition

10 House of Lords Composition

11 Political Parties Caucuses 19th century- 2 party system
Tories (supported King Charles II) Whigs (opposed) Industrial Revolution Tories became Conservative Party Traditional Wing Thatcherite Wing Whigs became Liberal Party Labour Party Liberal Democratic Alliance Party Liberal and Democrats merged in 1989 In 1980s had as much as 26% of popular vote, no more than 62 seats in HOC Other small parties…

12 Parties Conservative Party Liberal Democrats Labour Party
opposition to the European single currency Reduce the rate of taxes Social conservatives Opposed to state multiculturalism Favor international alliances Job growth Fair taxes (tax cuts for working class) Fair but firm immigration Equal marriage diversity of ideological trends from strongly socialist, to more moderately social democratic trade union movement Keynesian economics

13 Other Parties Plaid Cymru of Wales Scottish National Party of Scotland
Sinn Fein of Northern Ireland Political wing of IRA Democratic Unionist Party led by Protestant clergymen

14 The Judiciary Common Law- focus put on precedent and interpretation
No fixed Constitution Statues, court judgments, treaties, parliamentary constitutional conventions, royal perogatives “No word of Parliament can be unconstitutional for the law of the land knows not the word or the idea.” Change by passing new acts of Parliament Bill of Rights 1689 Appeals Lowest: District Court Appeal to: High Courts, then UK Supreme Court Supreme Court replaced Law Lords (5 MPs from HOL) in 2005 Impartial Expected to retire at 75

15 The Crown Ceremonial Head of State
Opens Parliament Meets foreign Heads of State Expected to respect will of Parliament “royal assent”: Assents bills “royal prerogative”: a body of customary authority, privilege, and immunity, recognized in common law Powers “Speech from the Throne” opens Parliament requests the person most likely to command the support of a majority in the House to form a government Can refuse of a request of the PM to dissolve Parliament Formally appoints members of the House of Lords

16 Bureaucracy Ministers (heads of bureaucracy) appointed by PM
Top officials Nonpartisan Experts in their fields Long term Advise ministers Discretionary power “Oxbridge”

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