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Parliament Scrutiny Notes

Law Notes > Constitutional Law Notes

This is an extract of our Parliament Scrutiny document, which we sell as part of our Constitutional Law Notes collection written by the top tier of Oxford students.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Constitutional Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Parliament PARLIAMENT AND DEMOCRACY

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Democratic credentials acquired through elections. Why is democracy good?

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Normative view of the human conditions - autonomy of the individual and right to have a say in the own life.

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Having a voice encourages humans to flourish (Mill). Types of democracy (UK mixes the two):

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Representative democracy: public select representative by election. After election there is no legal requirement to respect the opinions of those who elected you.

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Participative democracy: public involvement beyond elections. Can be seen in the use of referendums on constitutional questions. Elections to the Commons

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Elections are used to determine the composition of the chamber, as well as who is going to form the government.

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A general election is triggered by the PM asking the monarch to dissolve Parliament. As of 2010 we have fixed term Parliaments of 5 years: good in principle because an incumbent shouldn't have an advantage, but might lead to a 'lame duck' government.

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Democracy suggests that the widest number of people should be able to stand and vote in elections - but this is a relatively recent phenomenon e.g. women's suffrage in 1928. Even recent issues like prisoner voting rights have been an issue. Voting system:

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FPTP - candidate with the most votes wins. AV was suggested in 2011 referendum but rejected o Criticised because it means it doesn't matter how much someone wins by and they don't need a majority. Advantage is that is has tended to deliver clear winners in general elections, so no need for a hung Parliament (except now!). Reform

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MPs expenses scandal dented confidence.

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Reform of the voting system: AV was rejected. New Labour deemed the party list unacceptable. AMS, like in Scotland?

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