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The UK Constitution: Functions

AS Government and Politics, Unit 2
by

Helen Marks

on 17 January 2013

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Transcript of The UK Constitution: Functions

A constitution normally states what the limits of governmental power should be - what is the competence of the government The British constitution is unusual in this sense as it places no limits at all on the competence of Parliament.

This is because Parliament is sovereign - what does this mean? Constitutions establish the political processes that make the system work. This includes the relationships between institutions and the rules that govern how they operate. Constitutions determine how political power should be distributed within the states This includes federal settlements - what does this mean?

It also includes unitary states - what are they?

Similarly, constitutions determine the balance of power between government and Parliament; president and prime minister; and between two chambers in bicameral systems.

What are these in the UK? Constitutions assert the rights of the citizens against the state. Most democratic states have a 'Bill of Rights', a statement that prevents the government from trampling on the civil liberties of citizens. Constitutions establish the rules by which nationality is established. - i.e. Who is entitled to be a citizen

This implies the constitution defines the territory that makes up the state. Constitutions sometimes have to be amended A constitution in itself must contain the rules for its own amendment

The UK is unusual. It can be changed in two ways:

1 Parliamentary statute
2 The slow evolution of unwritten rules - conventions

FRANCE: referendums required
USA: 2/3 majority in Congress + approval of 3/4 of 50 states The UK Constitution is a set of principles that establishes the distribution of power within a political system, relationships between political institutions, the limits of government jurisdiction, the rights of citizens and the method of amending the constitution itself The UK Constitution
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