topic 2 Essay

Submitted By seb_lingard
Words: 1048
Pages: 5

Topic 2: Parliament

04: 'Explain the term parliamentary majority'

Parliamentary Majority occurs when the preponderance of a governing party has absolute supremacy and the votes are swayed to one side – Given a division is won to a certain party, the opposition or proposition for that matter wins the vote and secures their motion and furthermore seats in the legislation. On rare occasions the removal of a government party by a vote of confidence has happened. only 4 times since 1895 – The most recent being in 1979 when Labour Government's James Callaghan lost out to Margaret Thatcher's Conservative party by 1 vote, (310 to 311). Prior to this the General election in 1974 was hung. The Tories had tried to negotiate a coalition with Labour at the time - however this failed and thus left Edward Heath's Government to resign.

05: 'Using your own knowledge as well as the extract, explain why government defeats on confidence motions are rare'.

The government is never going to lose unless it is actually in a minority in the House of Commons. Of course all MP's of the government party are going to vote against it, and all MP's of all other parties will vote for it to force a change. Being defeated on the motion "That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government" means there will be a general election, so a government will pull all the stops out to make sure all its MP's vote in favour of the party. The Prime Minister is appointed on the basis that he or she can form a stable government that change life or the better, and a vote in favour of the fact that he or she can't really is the other option.

The most recent happening of this event would be in 1979 when James Callaghan’s Labour Government was defeated by the opposition. The House of Commons carried the conservative motion by 311 - 310, thus making James Callaghan the first Prime Minister since Ramsey MacDonald in 1924 to be forced into an election. Internal Conflict is a relevant issue that can arise from a vote of no confidence. However a vote of confidence can be initiated by a government to cause pressure into the MP’s support of key legislation. John Major did this over the Maastricht Treaty in 1993.

A vote of no confidence is rare on the basis of it being extremely risky. A possible backbench rebellion is an outcome however is a vote of no confidence is out forward you are more than likely to quash any of this happening. The Leading government will hold the most seats in parliament however it won’t be in favour of the government in power in party terms (if all the parties coalesce).

06: ‘The legislative process in the House of Commons offers backbench MPs significant opportunities to influence party policy’.

Legislation is a key function of the Commons is to make laws, which are binding on everyone in the UK. This might be a law that imposes speed limits on cars, or devolves power to a Scottish Parliament. Almost all British ministers, including the prime minister, come from the House of Commons. Unlike in the USA, where there is a separation of powers and you cannot be a member of both the legislature and the executive, in the UK all ministers have to be members of parliament. The role of a backbench MP is to represent his/her constituents, even those who did not vote for them or did not vote at all. At the same time, many backbench MPs will feel that they have a responsibility to their political party. Sometimes the views of the party may come into conflict with the views of constituents. Backbench MPs, in this case, must make a choice; either to upset their local constituents or upset the party whip. Backbench MP’s are high effective within the British Political System as they are able to scrutinise government actions and hold them to account in numerous ways. Furthermore in Parliament in Westminster ensures the democratic legitimacy of UK government and gives the government authority with a right to exercise political power. Backbench MPs also