Thursday, 19 May 2011

Public Affairs revision notes - Westminster


Made up of House of Commons and House of Lords

Commons – elected
Lords – not elected

Lords – made up of peers. Hereditary peers (these are being slowly cut from the House of Lords but still around 90), bishops

Peers – can be elected by the government – scandals of buying peerages – life peers (doctors, judges, etc e.g. Lord Sugar)

Peers – not paid a salary, do not belong to a constituency
Journalists have a PRIVILEGE to know what happens in Westminster

Sub judice rules:

1) If something is being considered by court
2) Cant repeat or say anything that can be seen as contempt

House of Commons – not supposed to mention the Royal family

Voting in the commons is called a DIVISION

Whip – makes sure the members of their own party is voting for what they are supposed to be

Free Vote – whips cannot get involved – although free votes are rare

New laws have to be approved by both houses of Parliament (except tax raising)

If disagreement between the houses then the House of Commons has the power as they represent the people

Making a law:
Green to White
1) First reading – goes to parliament
2) Second reading – debate
3) Committee stage – experts from the field give opinions (fine tuning)
4) Report stage
5) Third reading – more debate (possible amendments)
6) House of Lords – whips go around as there will be a vote
7) Consideration of lords amendments
8) Royal assent – Queen signs it off

House of Lords was the final court of appeal until October 2009, now taken over by supreme court – distinction needed between government and law

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