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Strengths and Weaknesses
Learning Objectives
• To consolidate understanding of the principles of the
UK constitution
• To identify the strengths an...
• Sovereignty = “Crown in Parliament”
• Parliamentary sovereignty is a form of legal sovereignty (i.e. make, amend,
repeal...
Strengths and Weaknesses
of the UK Constitution
Potential 25 or 40 mark Exam Questions
• Assess the strengths and weakness...
In your groups identify as many strengths and weaknesses of the constitution as you
can think of.
Think about the key feat...
Strengths
• Provides a coherent system of government
• Evolved over time, reflecting the values of the British People
• Pa...
Things to think about…
STRENGTHS
• In order to change the UK’s constitution all you need to do
is pass an act of parliamen...
Things to think about…
WEAKNESSES
• With so many sources to our constitution it is sometimes
difficult to know what the co...
Let’s Debate
THE MOTION:
This House believes the strengths outweigh the weaknesses of
the UK constitution.
(British Parlia...
Homework
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Strengths and weaknesses of the UK Constitution

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A PowerPoint that consolidates understanding of the principles of the UK constitution, as well as outlines its strengths and weaknesses

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Strengths and weaknesses of the UK Constitution

  1. 1. Strengths and Weaknesses
  2. 2. Learning Objectives • To consolidate understanding of the principles of the UK constitution • To identify the strengths and weaknesses of the UK constitution • To debate whether the strengths now outweigh the weaknesses of the UK constitution
  3. 3. • Sovereignty = “Crown in Parliament” • Parliamentary sovereignty is a form of legal sovereignty (i.e. make, amend, repeal any law) Parliamentary Sovereignty • The Rule of Law has traditionally been seen as an alternative to a codified constitution, showing that, even in the absence of higher law, government is till subject to legal checks and constraints. • Government, in short, is not ‘above’ the law. The Rule of Law • UK constitutional structure is based on a fusion of powers between executive and Parliament (i.e. parliamentary government). • Government & parliament overlap/interlock. • Government, in effect, governs in and through parliament. Parliamentary Government • Monarchy remains constitutionally significant body in the UK. Monarchy is a ‘dignified’ institution and still plays vital role even if no meaningful political power. Role is to promote popular allegiance, serve as a symbol of political unity above party politics. Monarch has the right to be informed, consulted, to warn and encourage. Constitutional Monarchy • Membership of the EU has major implications for the UK constitution e.g. role and significance of Parliament [can parliament still be seen as sovereign?] • Sovereignty now best understood as ‘parliamentary sovereignty within the context of EU membership’. EU Membership
  4. 4. Strengths and Weaknesses of the UK Constitution Potential 25 or 40 mark Exam Questions • Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the UK constitution. • The strengths now outweigh the weaknesses of the UK constitution. Do you agree?
  5. 5. In your groups identify as many strengths and weaknesses of the constitution as you can think of. Think about the key features and concepts you have learnt about; pros and cons Think about praise or criticism of the UK political system you have seen or read in the news Strengths • Flexibility • Democratic rule • Effective government • History and tradition Weaknesses • Uncertainty • Elective dictatorship • Centralization • Weak protection of rights
  6. 6. Strengths • Provides a coherent system of government • Evolved over time, reflecting the values of the British People • Parliamentary sovereignty ensures a clear centre of authority • The rule of law protects the rights of citizens • Government is responsible – it is accountable to parliament and the electorate • Government is effective – it can implement their policy programmes • The constitution is flexible and easily adapted Weaknesses • Parliamentary sovereignty and a strong executive produces centralised government • Local and sub-national governments are not constitutionally protected • The rights of citizens are weak and not safeguarded effectively • Pre-democratic elements survive e.g. the monarchy, House of Lords • Changes to the constitution do not require special procedures e.g. a referendum is not required. The Traditional British Constitution
  7. 7. Things to think about… STRENGTHS • In order to change the UK’s constitution all you need to do is pass an act of parliament. This means the UK can adapt to changing circumstances. Is this always a good thing? • Because the House of Commons is elected (and supreme) we can see a continuous link to democratic principals since the electoral reforms of the 19th Century. This can be linked to a decrease in power of our unelected second chamber • Our electoral system and fusion of powers means that government is usually allowed to push through its manifesto promises. Does this imply a tyranny at the heart of British democracy? • Conservatives believe that tradition is an important part of our constitution. Our institutions are ‘tested by time’. If it isn’t broke don’t fix it!
  8. 8. Things to think about… WEAKNESSES • With so many sources to our constitution it is sometimes difficult to know what the constitution says. This is especially true of the unwritten parts..... such as? • What do you think the term elective dictatorship means? • Even though the Human Rights Act 1998 defends our rights these can still be overturned by parliament-for example, terrorist legislation. • Our constitution can be accused of being overly central. This is because: › PM tends to dominate the cabinet › The HOC dominates the HOL › The executive controls the parliament (HOC) through the Whips › Central government controls local government.
  9. 9. Let’s Debate THE MOTION: This House believes the strengths outweigh the weaknesses of the UK constitution. (British Parliamentary Style Debating) PROPOSITION OPPOSITION 1st Speaker 2nd Speaker 3rd Speaker 4th Speaker 30 seconds – 1 minute – 30 seconds = 2 minutes total
  10. 10. Homework

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