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In order to effectively maintain the efficacy of the constitution calls for constructive relationships between the executive, judiciary, and the legislature, especially in a government that is categorized as a constitutional monarchy. The UK government is often also called a parliamentary democracy, which denotes the lack of executive power and undergirds the complex relationship between the executive and the legislature. Executive power authorizes an elected individual to enforce orders and ensure that laws are implemented fairly across the nation. The use of executive powers requires the involved body or person render tough decisions regarding policy and to address often difficult situations. These governmental controls require restraint to prevent misuse and abuse of the power, a hallmark of democratic government forms. One of the most frequent methods used to constrain such powers is the use of the Parliament in finalizing laws that are implemented throughout the nation. This control curtails the ability of an executive leader from abusing their power and using their role in politics for personal gain rather than acting in the best interest of the nation. A recent scandal concerning the use of the executive power by the Lords of the House is over the issue of tax credits, which caused a contentious and divisive argument between the Lords of the House and the government. The agreement at hand was that the Lord’s powers need to become restrained in return for the restraint of the appointments of government workers. A similar situation occurred in Australia where the Australian government made efforts in trying to dissolve Parliament using its legislative power.
Executive Power and Legislation
Parliament and the governments of different nations differ on various bills and policies that parliament passes into law. In most nations, the body that possesses these legislative powers has control over the creation of most of the policies and rules. In parliamentary democracies, the executive is charged with the constitutional obligation to Parliament and oversee legislative elections, which directly affect both the makeup and identity of the government. Moreover, the longevity of parliament is predicated on the capacity of political parties to foment majorities that bolster the current government. It is opined that the executive in the UK undermines the efficacy of the legislature, thereby calling into question whether or not an executive branch is constitutional in a parliamentary democracy. A system of checks and balances represents a democratic norm, as executive powers must always be constrained for the good of the nation. The disruptions caused by conflict between the executive and legislative branches of government these powers and the arguments between the bodies are evident from the differing opinions of the Lords of the House with the government in the United Kingdom and the Australian government with the parliament. Constitutional relationships constantly evolve between Parliament and the executive in power in the UK.
Doring (1995) states that the UK parliament is strongly controlled by the executive, thereby favoring the executive branch over the legislative branch. Many people argue that the executive practices seemingly almost full control over the plenary agenda. It is necessary o examine the institutional mechanisms in place in the UK government in order to see how they impact the legislative clout of parliament in a government described as a parliamentary democracy. In the UK, “no member of the House of Commons can introduce a Bill the main purpose of which is to increase expenditure or taxation; nor can the relevant provisions of a Bill which proposes any such increase proceed much further unless a resolution authorising such increase has been approved by the government and agreed to by the House of Commons” (IPU 1986, p. 862). While some political scientists argued that the legislative and executive branches merged when the prime minister ascended to the fore of UK politics. It is unequivocal that the executive and legislature are intrinsically linked, which is why many theorists believe that they have fused together or have become harmonized with one another. The branches of government are nonetheless distinct, as members of the executive branch cannot be a part of the legislative branch. The executive clearly wielded more power in passing legislation than the parliament, which many view as wholly inimical to the proper functioning of a parliamentary democracy. Parliament can pass through secondary legislation, which are limited legislative rights that are passed via an Act of Parliament to members of the executive branch., Such initiatives have emerged as needed yet discernible contentious for the UK government to function properly. Secondary legislation is necessary in order to safeguard against political abuse at the behest of the executive. While the executive branch is necessary in a democracy and is constitutionally viable, the presence of parliament should be on par with the clout exercised by the executive branch.
While parliament works closely with the government, the two cannot be conflated, as the executive runs the nation and has the duty for both the development and implementation of laws in addition to devising policy. Despite the fact that the executive has such a presence in UK politics, parliament is considered to be the highest government authority there. Parliament is charged with responsibility of investigating and checking government operations and debates the validity of new initiatives. Although Parliament is the highest political authority in the UK, surprisingly, parliament is excluded from judicial oversight with regards to internal activities. Such a mechanism has raised various issues regarding the nature of the privileges that parliament enjoys. Indeed, parliament in theory possesses legal supremacy, which was touted as the bedrock of the UK constitution. Parliamentary sovereignty needs to be taken into consideration in order to render a decision regarding the constitutionality of the executive.
The Tax Scandal and Controversial Decision
The argument involving the Lords of the House and the government centered on the issue of tax credits, which increased the security of the crediting capital of denizens. This norm was a delegated legislation that required passing it through the parliamentary process, which constitutes a much less complex process than the process of passing a bill. The government tries to implement the delegated power under the Tax and Credits Act of 2002. The power delegated to the executive allows the government to discuss the rates and bands of taxes and credits implemented therein. This authority ensures that the government does not require the passage of a new bill whenever there are minor changes in the implementation of a policy. The delegated legislation fit into two different categories. In one category, it may be affirmative in that it requires the approval of both chambers of parliament to become a law. In the other category, it may be negative in that it will automatically pass into law if none of the chambers object. The legislation, in this case, was affirmative in which the House of Commons had agreed to it, and the remaining part emanated from the Lords of the House.
The issue at hand is that the House of Lords has a formal veto over any delegated legislation. When glancing deeper into the veto power of the House of Lords, it is clear that the conflict germinated out of the Parliament Act of 1911, which limited the power of the House of Lords over the passage of ordinary bills. Looking at the Legislation Scrutiny Committee—which is ideally found in the House of Lords—the subcontext here ideally draws the attention of the House on the negative instruments that are the House does not regularly debate. The committee drew to the House’s attention the issue of tax credits proposal in which the House pointed out missing or omitted details regarding the expected ramifications of the project. The frequent use of veto power by members of the House of Lords may be disruptive, which is why matters such as this should a lot of caution in their treatment. The House of Lords may refuse to pass the instrument by rendering it a fatal motion. If people show concerns on the toolkit, the House may table a non-fatal motion in which they will regret the actions of the government instead of blocking it completely. The House of Lords library may have to compare and collect useful information on such a motion. Over the years, the House voted approximately 27 instruments as fatal and 42 as non-fatal motions and only 17 defeats in which three are fatal motions, leading ideally to a great change in the events of current state of the Law.
The bodies commissioned Lord Strathclyde to investigate on whether the Lord’s power on such bills should become restructured or not since many felt that perhaps some boundaries may have been over stepped. Lord Strathclyde prepared the report with the help of the Secretariat of the civil service and Initial senior officials with the aid of special knowledge on the process of the legislative which was very beneficial to them since they acted modestly as soldiers armed for battled equipped with the right tools of work which was “Knowledge”. The report prepared several options that would help limit the powers of the Lords of the House unfortunately as the House had hoped and longed for the good old days. The oppositions gave the report on optimistic responses which was a major turning point but the legislation recommended by Strathclyde proved difficult to implement as they had predicted. In the report, Strathclyde displays the complexity of issues that surround the legislation and the powers of the Lords of The House. The report credits the Unified Committee on their Conventions in 2006 that concluded with them issuing the Lords with a ticket that was against the legislation as long as it was in ‘exceptional circumstances’.
As stated by the in-depth report, these circumstances or conditions include the scenario where provisions of what is referred to as Statutory Instrument or (SI) were primarily and of the sort more commonly found in primary legislation. These circumstance correlates with the case of the tax credits whereby the report omits the fact that such circumstances include where the Lords of the House in the Legislation Scrutiny Committee was deeply concerned, that is also found in the case of the tax credits.2 The report further suggests that legislation with financial implications might be exposed to more lenient and different treatment by the Lords. The report does not clearly indicate that the case of tax credits was one of the past predicted expectations. The report by Lord Strathclyde gives in detail three options that the government might take to establish a relationship between the House of Lords and the House of Commons on their decisive role in legislation. The first option would be to evict the House of Lords or dismantling the House from the statutory intended instrument of procedure completely.
By enacting this move, the statutory instruments would have to pass through the House of Commons only, and this would be a very effective way of implementing the goal. The second option would require them to retain the current roles of the House of Lords as a opposed to having new ones or dissolving the current positions that have been there over vast ages, not only that but also illuminate the restrictions on how to exercise their powers, for example by classifying them when passing a rule. The final option requires the creation of a new procedure in primary legislation where by this new procedure that is put in place would allow the House of Lords to ask the House of Commons on the existence of any disagreements but give a final word to the elected House of Commons. The report recommended the implementation of the third option. The provided options in the report posed several risks to the House of Lords. The number one option or priority would completely drain off the power of the House of Lords since it would probably lead to the fragmentation of two of the very prime committees which are the Legislation of Scrutiny Committee that goes hand in hand with the Delegated Powers plus the Committee that deals with delegated legislation.
Both of these committees are situated in the House of Lords which is very risky and dangerous. This norm would destroy the parliament’s ability to divide powers given to the government and would also place unwanted pressure on the House of Commons. The last option would give a green light the Lords to act still as the legislator but would require the attention of the Commons to inappropriately delegate the power which is by no means ethical as long as they are in existence. The options that require legislation hold a threat to the Lords, yet they give it substantial power in the short-term. Though the government underestimates its power and refuses to take advantage of this situation, it could force legislative change without having to acknowledge the Lords’ approval using the Parliament Act. The provisions necessitate the Lords House discard a Notion in two consecutive sessions of the parliamentary after which the proposal becomes sent to the Royal assent following the standard procedure protocol. This norm happens after a year passes from the original second reading of the Commons. These options also pose great risks to the government since some of the respected bodies, for example, the Delegated Powers together with the Reform Committee are all in the House of Lords.
The Government plays a key role in the enactment of Rules and Laws without a doubt where by the Government has to work hand in hand with Reform Committee and the House of Lords so has to have a harmonious setting that will bring Decency to a Nation. Lord Strathclyde goals and ambitions are not too shabby or cluttered as he has the desire the desire of the implementations of plans to have the House of Lords and House of Commons work as a common basic unit entirely. The issue of tax is a sensitive issue that shouldn’t be taken lightly since it’s the people’s sweat and blood that is at stake and rules regarding regulation of Taxes need proper dialogue and not hasty arguments that add no apparent meaning in the Registrar. If power handed over to the government becomes too much without becoming regulated it could lead to the down fall of a particular Nation thanks to a governmental system that lacks the basic skills in powers management in regards to Tax practices. Strathclyde reports have greatly helped in pinpointing areas that are delicate and need urgent attention in regards to showing the loop holes the Legislation. His reports are of great value and essence and if followed promptly a Nation will surely thrive by following the options that he has listed for the various forms of government to work together. Though it may seem that one side of the Government calls the shots but its paramount the House of The Lords and the House of the commons work together for the good and the benefit of a Nation lest a whole nation is brought Low by decisions of one arm of the government.
Döring, H. (1995). Time as a scarce resource: Government control of the agenda, in H. Döring (ed.), Parliaments and majority rule in Western Europe, Frankfurt : Campus ; New York : St. Martin’s Press, 223-246.
‘Government Publishes Strathclyde Review – Press Releases – GOV.UK’ (Gov.uk, 2015) https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-publishes-strathclyde-review, accessed 8 March 2016
Group C, ‘Gabrielle Appleby And Joanna Howe: The High Court Ends Backdoor Law Making (For Now)’ (UK Constitutional Law Association, 2014) https://ukconstitutionallaw.org/2014/06/26/gabrielle-appleby-and-joanna-howe-the-high-court-ends-backdoor-law-making-for-now/, accessed 8 March 2016
Russell M, ‘The Lords And Tax Credits: Fact And Myth’ (The Constitution Unit Blog, 2015) https://constitution-unit.com/2015/10/22/the-lords-and-tax-credits-fact-and-myth/ accessed 8 March 2016
Russell M, ‘The Strathclyde Report: A Threat Or An Opportunity For The Lords?’ (The Constitution Unit Blog, 2015) https://constitution-unit.com/2015/12/18/the-strathclyde-report-a-threat-or-an-opportunity-for-the-lords/, accessed 8 March 2016