POLI 11 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Militia Ordinance, Westminster System, Supreme Governor Of The Church Of England

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21 May 2018
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Westminster Democracy: The Efficient Institutions of British Politics
The Dignified Constitution: THE MONARCH
Queen Elizabeth II (1952-present) longest serving monarch in British history
2012: Gender-neutral heredity. First born will be king/queen.
Constitutional monarchy since 1689
1707: Last royal veto (Queen Anne: Scottish Militia Bill)
1834: Last Cabinet resignation because of monarch’s lack of confidence
2010-11: Lost formal powers to sign treaties and call parliamentary elections
Three rights of monarchs (Bagehot) (but she cannot act on legislation or pick cabinet
members)
to be consulted
to encourage
to warn
Supreme Governor of Church of England
Head of Commonwealth of Nations (association of 53 countries including Canada and
Australia) and formal ceremonial head of state of 16 Commonwealth countries
QE II has conferred 400,000 honors and awards
The House of Lords:
Not elected, a very old institution.
Bicameral Parliament made up of:
House of Commons (Elected) can be elevated to HOL
House of Lords (Non elected, Hereditary)
The House of Lords:
765 members
650 life peers
89 hereditary peers
26 lords spiritual (bishops)
Until 1999, the largest legislative body in the world (1,296 members)
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1958: Life peerages created, only three hereditary peerages created since; women members
admitted
Life peerages have increased the number of Labour peers, increased diversity, raised the
average age (69), brought in more professionals, and increased attendance and activity
Until 2009: 12 Law Lords constituted highest court of appeals in the UK (became Supreme
Court in 2009) Can change verdict in a criminal case. Now taken out of HOL and made
into a separate supreme court.
Functions:
Legislation
The Lords can delay non-money bills for up to one year
Salisbury Convention: The Lords do not contest bills contained in the governing party’s
election manifesto (platform). This is has been presented to the people who have voted for it so
cannot be changed.
Recruitment
At least one member (Leader of the House of Lords) serves in the Cabinet
Why is the House of Lords still important?
Many members with diverse areas of expertise( senior politicians, important bsuiness-people,
expertise in justice)
More time for policy debate than Commons (no money bills)
No electoral connection liberates members to follow their own convictions
Government need not fall if it suffers a defeat, therefore parties do not control their members
as much as in the House of Commons
House of Commons:
Small room.
Seats facing each other.
Partisan separation (people of different parties seat against each other)
The most powerful house.
All prime ministers have to be elected into the house of commons and then go into parliament.
Voting in the house of commons is either by voice vote or division (walk up and stand in the
gallery, one lobby for yes and one for no, this is an example of traditional practices).
Due to the way its set up, if you want to vote in favor of another party you would have to
physically cross the line and stand with them, it reinforces the idea of bipartisanship.
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