The relationship between the House of Commons and the government

The House of Commons will not elect the Prime Minister, but the forces of the various parties in the House of Commons often have a key influence on the selection of the Prime Minister. As a matter of practice, the prime minister must be responsible to the lower house and must also try to obtain the majority of support from the lower house. Therefore, whenever there is a vacancy in the position of prime minister, the new prime minister appointed by the monarch must be a figure who is supported by the majority of the House of Commons, and this character is often the leader of the largest party in the House of Commons (the second largest party in the House of Commons) The leader of the party becomes the leader of the opposition). In modern times, the prime minister comes from the House of Commons, not the House of Lords.

Only if they are trusted by the House of Commons can they continue to serve. If the House of Commons loses confidence in the government or the prime minister, it will show it by vetoing the motion of confidence, or through the motion of no confidence. The content of trust and distrust motions often uses a clear and unceremonious tone such as “This court has lost confidence in the Queen’s Government”, but sometimes the tone will be more polite.

On the other hand, some motions that are very important in nature and belong to the scope of the government’s policy agenda (such as the annual budget) are often in line with people’s trust motions. When the House of Commons really loses confidence in the government, then the Prime Minister is obliged to resign from the opposition, or ask the monarch to dissolve the parliament and hold a general election as soon as possible.

Being forced by the opposition party to vote, generally speaking, the prime minister can choose a day to dissolve the parliament with the permission of the monarch, and then another day to hold a general election. When choosing these days, the Prime Minister will often make political considerations to choose a day that is most beneficial to his party. However, each Congress cannot be longer than 5 years, and it will be automatically dissolved when it expires. However, the two houses can extend the term of Congress by jointly passing laws and regulations, and this has happened during both wars. However, in reality, it is extremely rare for the Congress to dissolve automatically after five years, because according to practice, the request to dissolve the Congress is usually filed before the Congress’s term of office automatically reaches the deadline.

Whether the term of Congress has expired for five years and the government has lost the trust of the House of Commons, or the Prime Minister automatically proposes that the House of Commons will be dissolved and then a general election will be held. If after the general election, the prime minister’s party is still the majority party in the House of Commons, then the prime minister can remain in office; however, if his party loses the majority advantage in the general election, the prime minister will be forced to resign so that the monarch can appoint a new prime minister.

However, even if the Prime Minister does not lose in the election, he still has the right to resign (for example, on the grounds of personal health); in this case, his successor is the new leader of his party. Strangely, until 1965, the British Conservative Party did not have a mechanism to elect its leader. As a result, in 1957, the Conservative Party was unable to nominate a successor because the then Prime Minister Sir Ayden did not specify a successor when he resigned. people. In the end, McMillan was appointed as prime minister after the queen consulted officials, and McMillan would naturally be the party leader at the same time.

By convention, all politically appointed officials of the government must be members of the upper house or lower house. Although from time to time people outside the parliament will be politically appointed, they will probably enter parliament through by-elections or knighthoods in the House of Commons. Since 1902, all previous prime ministers have been born in the House of Commons. However, in 1963, the Earl of Holme from the House of Lords was appointed as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Sir K. Douglas-Hume was elected to the House of Commons.

On a practical level, the House of Commons itself has always been quite limited in its oversight of the government. Based on the fact that majority voting is used in elections, most of the ruling party will obtain a substantial majority advantage in the House of Commons, making the ruling party less willing to cooperate with other parties. In addition, the modern British political parties are tightly organized, and the freedom of individual members is very limited. Therefore, looking at the entire 20th century, successive governments have only passed a motion of no confidence in the House of Commons three times (two in 1924 and one in 1979).

However, the “rebellion” of the back seat members cannot be ignored. If the back seat members hold opposing views with the political party to which they belong, they will have the opportunity to abort the bill (such as the 2006 Terrorism Act). However, compared with the select committee mentioned above, the monitoring power of the back seat is still dwarfed.

Technically, the House of Commons still retains the power to impeach improper royal officials (to the extent that it includes anyone other than public officials) to punish offenders by police. The impeachment case is proposed by the House of Commons, reviewed by the House of Lords, and approved by a simple majority in the House of Lords. However, the right of impeachment has basically ceased to be used and has been replaced by other methods such as motions of no confidence. The latest impeachment case in history was the case of Henry Dundas, the first Viscount Melville (Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville) in 1806.