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The Westminster System

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by

Robin Hendrych

on 3 November 2015

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Transcript of The Westminster System

The Westminster System
synopsis


Constituion

the Executive branch

FPP

the Legislative branch

the Judiciary


In this country we live … under an unwritten Constitution. It is true that we have on the Statute-book great instruments like Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, and the Bill of Rights which define and secure many of our rights and privileges; but the great bulk of our constitutional liberties and … our constitutional practices do not derive their validity and sanction from any Bill which has received the formal assent of the King, Lords and Commons. They rest on usage, custom, convention, often of slow growth in their early stages, not always uniform, but which in the course of time received universal observance and respect
Constituional foundation
Rt Hon Herbert Asquith
no written constitution
in 2004 it has been agreed that "the fundamental parts of constitutional law could be taken to include" over 25 documents

Magna Carta 1215
Bill of Rights 1689
Crown and Parliament Recognition Act 1689
Acts of Union 1707 — union of England and Scotland
Act of Union 1800 — union of Great Britain and Ireland
Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 — asserts the supremacy of the House of Commons by limiting the legislation-blocking powers of the House of Lords

latest addition being the 2013 Succession to the Crown Act
the Executive branch
Head of State, (HM the Queen)



Head of HM Government (the Prime Minister, currently David Cameron)
HM Government
95th ministry since 1707
32 ministers
majority Tory government
in power since 8 May 2015
.8% swing
Second Cameron Ministry
named by the Sovereign
responsible to the House of Commons
votes of confidence
majority governments are very common (a token o FPP)
HQ at 10 Downing St. and Whitehall
First-past-the-post (FPP) election system
Houses of Parliament
Commons
elected
source of the government
all PMs since 1966 have been from the Commons
650 seats

Lords
appointed
has the power to veto any proposal from the Commons
891 seats
Judiciary
no single legal system
Treaty of Union establishes the English Laws, Scots Laws and Northern Ireland Laws
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is the highest appeal instance
Quiz!
Who is the Head of State of the UK?
Which institution chooses the Prime Minister?
From which House of Parliament does the Prime Minister usually come?
Who resides at 10 Downing Street?
How many times can one become Prime Minister?
What are the three strongest parties in the Commons?
Full transcript