The House of Lords Is Now More Effective Than the House of Commons in Checking Government Power. Discuss Essay

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'The House of Lords is now more effective than the House of Commons in checking government power'. Discuss

In theory the House of Commons is the dominant chamber as it is elected while the House of Lords plays more of a revising role, issues to be considered include the powers of each chambers, the fact the House of Lords is more independently minded and the impact of the whips. It will ultimately be argued that the House of Commons remains far more effective due to having greater powers in checking the government power.

Firstly, the House of Commons has the ultimate check on government power via a vote of no confidence, this last happened in 1979 when Margaret Thatcher was able to be elected due to the Labour government's failure.
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The importance of party loyalty within the House of Commons is also likely to reduce the effectiveness of scrutiny as MPs rarely rebel against their party's wishes; this can prove particularly disastrous when the executive proposes new legislation as, due to the First Past the Post system which rarely produces coalitions, the government is likely to have a majority and so most MPs will vote in favour of the government. This should not happen because the MPs should represent their constituency but due to job security and possible promotions (Pay rises), MPs will vote in favour of their party even though their constituency may disagree. This shows how ineffective the scrutiny function can be when combined with the whip system as fear plays a factor in containing 'party order'.

Furthermore, an effective way of performing checks on the government via the House of Commons is through debates. These allow for detailed questioning of government legislation and policies. They can lead to moments when Ministers make mistakes with their answer and/or judgements, a famous example being when Tony Blair said that Saddem Hussain was using weapons of mass destruction, and when British troops were sent over to stop this happening, no such weapons were found. This is the event that made David Cameron act so carefully about the apparent chemical weapons being used in Syria, and the recent debate into this had an