Menu

PARLIAMENT POLITICS AND POLICY MAKING

0 Comment

The government Bills are customarily introduced in the House of Commons, with approved drafts going to the House of Lords and then to Monarch for the subsequent assent. While such a procedure creates necessary checks and balances system in order to prevent the possible implementation of hastily approved Bills, it still limits the powers of popularly elected MPs in favour of non-elected governmental bodies, The time limits on the readings of the Bills in one session represent a significant deficiency of the present system of lawmaking as well. As the sessions of Parliament are closed by the act of prorogation, each Bill that fails to be carried through all necessary legislative steps is considered lapsed, and its authors have to go through this very process of legislative enquiry anew (Keenan and Smith 53). This has a significant adverse effect on the tempo of lawmaking and obstructs the efforts of lawmakers. Nevertheless, the legislative procedure of British House of Commons has its own positive features as well. … The modernisation agenda of Blaire’s government affected both Houses of the Parliament, leading to many changes in its procedural rules and other structural elements. One of most significant of these policy moves was a thorough reform of the House of Lords, which lost its traditional character of the representative body of hereditary aristocracy after the House of Lords Act of 1999 provided for abolition of all but 92 hereditary peerages (Strickland and Cracknell 3). The modernisation of the House of the Commons proceeded rather unevenly, being somewhat stalled and timid in 1997-2001 and increasing in pace after 2001 (Cowley 20). Under Richard Cook, the Labour Party’s Leader of the House of Commons in 2001-2003, such important reforms were undertaken as the provision for more even resources allocation to select committees, the introduction of more topical Parliamentary Questions, and establishment of payment system for heads of select committees, so that the latter might wield an influence comparable to that of the Ministers (Cowley and Stuart 29). The tenure of Jack Straw as the Leader of the House (after 2006) was marked by important changes in standing committees process, with the result that the powers of standing committees were broadened so that they might receive both oral and written evidence before scrutinising the Bills under consideration (Cowley 21). Nevertheless, the other reforms to Parliament introduced by New Labour had mostly detrimental effect on its standing. For instance, the introduction of automatic timetabling of legislation served to make each Bill going through pre-arranged sequence of the debates, which narrowed the chances of Opposition to