In the UK, Parliament consists of the monarchy, House of Commons and the House of Lords which have existed for centuries however, some have expressed their concern on if they are carrying out their functions adequately. The Parliament is the prime legislative body in the UK have have many functions such as creating laws, being representative, legitimising legislation, calling government to account as well as scrutinising and amending legislation. It is made up of representatives who are voted in.
Parliament’s main function is legislation and passing bills. It can make, amend and abolish any statue law it wants which is called parliamentary sovereignty and because the UK follows an uncodified constitution, this allows policies and laws to be passed easily. Laws can also be passed easily because of the First Past the Post system which over represents larger parties because the majority of the government MP’s vote in line with the government, so the governments policies can be passed easily. This is very different in the US as they follow a codified constitution and can take up to several years to pass a bill which can be done in a few days in the UK.
Parliament can also gives power to other bodies to make laws on its behalf which are then called the devolved assemblies and local governments. In reality however, there is little free debate and discussion as MP’s have to follow the party line and pass legislation. It can also be argued that a governent with no debates and compromisation can be argued to eventually result in an elective dictatorship. Parliament’s other function is representation. The UK follows a representative democracy where decisions are made by elected representatives rather than the people themselves. It is argued that representation in parliament is strong as many sections of society and associations aare represented effectively as decisions are made by representatives who have more expertise in particular areas of policies and can help to improve legislation.
People also feel that representatives will have more political knowledge and the forth are more effective when questioning the minister or calling the government to account (scrutinising the government). However, it is not successful in all aspects of representation as it does not reflect the social make up of the UK. Major parties also have an unfair representation when it comes to MP’s as there is a huge gender and ethical disparity in terms of representation.
Another issue with representation that the First Past the Post system does not represent the majority of the electorates views. This can be seen during the 2010 general election where 52.8% of the votes cast were wasted. If the electorate is not fairly represented, then all illusion of a democracy falls away.
This is one of the areas where parliament fails at functioning as it does not represent the majority of the public’s views, not being a democratic process.