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Lord Hailsham described the United Kingdom as an “elective dictatorship” in a speech at the BBC in 1976, it was in reference to how the government at the time used their hold on the Commons to pass bills. An elective dictatorship is where parliament is dominated by the elected government. The UK is a democracy so the government of the day is elected by a general election, citizens are able to vote for the MP they want to represent their local area in the House of Commons. The political party that ends up with the most seats in the House of Commons will then form the government, the leader of this political party becomes Prime Minister. The executive branch is the elected government and their role within the UK constitution is to enforce the bills made by parliament. The UK Parliament is the main legislative body in the UK, and is made up of the partly elected House of Lords and the elected House of Commons. The combined effort of the House of Lords and House of Commons is used to scrutinise and challenge the Executive’s work, to make and alter legislation and to carry out parliamentary debates on important current issues. The UK doesnt follow a standard structure, this can be proved by the interrelation between the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary. The Legislature and Executive may be seen as fusion of power, this is because the government is determined from the majority of a political party elected into the House of Commons. Also they are connected together by the crown, which is part of the Legislative and it is also the only Executive Magistrate. Also because ministers supposedly dominate the work of parliamentary office, especially legislature. The separation of powers is a theory developed by Montesquieu and he thought that power could be used in a ‘tyrannical manner’ if it was not divided among legislative, executive and judicial branches. There hasn’t been a formal separation of powers in the UK because we have an uncodified constitution, unlike the USA which has a codified constitution and has a very strict separation of powers. Legally judges, members of the civil service, police and armed forces aren’t allowed to hold a place in parliament. and this prevents overlap between the three branches. It could be argued that the scrutiny of the executive done by parliament reduces the extent that the executive can dictate laws, they do this by questioning and debating the bills that have been introduced. The cabinet has a collective responsibility for the government’s conduct and if it isn’t supported by parliament it may lead to a vote of no confidence. If this happens, the Parliament will be dissolved unless they achieve the confidence of the Commons again, or another government is formed within the Commons upto 14 days after the vote. This shows that the Executive have an accountability to the Commons. Lord Diplock in Duport Steel v Sirs claims that there is a separation of powers although it isn’t codified: “it cannot be too strongly emphasised that the UK constitution, though unwritten, is firmly based on the separation of powers” Legislative sovereignty resides in the legislative branch, because parliament can pass whichever law they want to be passed. For a bill to become an Act of Parliament, it must be passed by the House of Lords and the Commons, it is then passed to the Queen who decides whether to pass the bill. However in reality, the monarchs’ approval is a formality, it would be very unusual for the monarch to not allow parliament’s wishes, no monarch has done this in the past 300 years. The House of Lords has the power to amend, reject and delay bills, but ultimately the Commons could still get any bill passed, this is because when the same bill has been proposed by the House of Commons twice, the third time it is put forward will only need the Common’s assent to the bill, so if necessary the House of Commons can override the House of Lord’s power.In theory, the legislature should be the dominant branch but in reality the opposite is usually true. For the bills to be passed, they must be agreed to by the majority of the parliament, especially the House of Commons. The majority of the House of Commons is usually a single political party or can sometimes be a coalition of two political parties. When the majority is a single political party (for example, the last labour government), it is easy for the government to pass a bill as they will automatically get the support of most of the House of Commons, so this means that in this situation the Executive has more power than the Parliament, as the people who have been elected have the power to introduce any law they want. There has been more constraints on the recent executive’s ability to pass bills, this is because there is not a strong majority in the Commons. In the current government, the Conservative Party did not secure enough seats to form a majority government and so formed a minority government. To make it possible for them to pass bills, they signed an agreement of “confidence and supply” with the Democratic Unionist Party. The coalition government before this had to agree the bills between both parties before going to parliament. A prime example of the difference a minority government and a majority government has on the government’s ability to make decisions, has been shown in the contrast between Tony Blair’s and David Cameron’s war proposals. Tony Blais has a majority labour government so he was able to take Britain to war in Iraq despite there being huge defiance from the back bench. Whereas the Conservative party didn’t have a majority so his proposals were rejected.It is normally the government that formulates or makes changes to a policy and place it forward to the legislature in the structure of a bill, for parliament to dismiss or approve the bill. Parliament doesn’t initiate this process. Whereas the executive has overall control over the process of enacting legislation as they have involvement in the production of the policy, legislation and the implementation of the Act. This is on account of the executive not being straightforwardly elected, the Queen welcomes the leader who is the most capable of gaining the respect from the House of Commons to take up the position of Prime Minister and form a cabinet. Who becomes part of the executive is determined by the elections carried out to pick who will be part of the legislature. The MP’s from the same political party as the executive can be relied on to agree with the bills the government proposes out of loyalty, even though they are allowed to disagree. More likely than not, the government can be sure that their bills will generally get past House of Commons. At times, the MPs could potentially revolt if the legislation is particularly questionable. It is uncommon for government bills to pass through parliament without being subject to amendments, this usually occurs because of the opposition party’s suggestions of improvements.The government is accountable to the parliament in the political aspect and to the courts in a legal perspective. If necessary claimants can issue ‘judicial review proceedings against government departments’ and thereby ‘require ministers to justify their policies, decisions and actions’. Being politically responsible implies that the executive might be required to answer inquiries from MPs and to clarify why mistakes have happened and how it will be guaranteed that the slip-up won’t be repeated. In any case, even the accountability doesn’t generally function as it ought to due to the fact that the government has a tight hold on the legislature and this means it is rare for the executive to be addressed by the parliament or for anything to come of it. On the third of November 2016, the English High Court in London decided the fate of the Miller case and this delivered one of our most defining constitutional rulings ever made. The case’s issue to be solved was based on the idea that if the government wished to initiate the exit procedure from the EU, it needed Parliament’s consent, due to the fact that the executive is accountable to the Parliament and that Parliament’s job is to keep the executive in check. Theresa May’s government wished to bypass parliament to trigger Article 50, on the sole ground that the government has the prerogative authority to do so. This would’ve gone against a key constitutional principle in the UK: parliamentary sovereignty. It would’ve also gone against the rule of law, as law wouldn’t be ruling over the nation, we would be being ruled over by whatever/ government officials shave dictated. So it was held by the High Court that Article 50 couldn’t be triggered without a new Act of Parliament since brexit will involve a change in the legal status of some citizens, the court’s decision shows parliamentary supremacy.The Salisbury Doctrine ensures that bills that are carrying out the promises made by the government’s manifesto in the election period, pass through the parliament without being voted down at the second or third reading. This convention is more applicable when the executive doesn’t possess a House of Common’s majority, but in Theresa May’s hung government, this isn’t applicable as the Conservatives do not have a majority in the House of Commons. This relates because it shows the Executive’s dominance as the rest of the Parliament can offer advice and challenge the bill but ultimately can’t do anything about it. Royal prerogative powers are explained to be “..that special pre-eminence which the King has, over and above all persons, and out of the ordinary course of the common law, in right of his royal dignity”. Prerogative powers  historically belong to the Monarch, but now in practice are used by the executive, i.e prime minister, ministers. Parliament can abolish, limit, suspend or supplement prerogative powers in an act of parliament according to statute. In Attorney-General V De Keyser’s Royal Hotel, Lord Dunedin said ‘if the whole ground of something which could be done by the prerogative is covered by the statute it is the statute that rules’. Therefore, the Court held that the statute did limit the prerogative power, this did not means that the prerogative ceased to exist as it was only temporary. This demonstrates the parliament having the final say, as opposed to the Executive, in regards to the Executive’s privilege of the royal prerogative.Members of parliament have parliamentary privileges, this gives them some legal immunities against civil or criminal liability for what they do or say to perform their legislative duties. The bills of rights made it so “”the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament”With my previous arguments taken into account, I conclude that both the Executive and  Legislature branch have privileges that could be used to abuse their powers. Especially if the government of the day has a large majority in the parliament, because together they can create legislation as they wish. In my opinion, parliament is theoretically more constitutionally powerful than the executive but in reality this isnt always the case. However as we currently have a minority government and the executive is reliant on the Conservative MP’s loyalty and the DUP’s help. It is not a strong position so I would say that parliament is dominant and the UK isn’t an elective dictatorship at the moment.

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