To what extent do MPs fulfil their role of holding the government to account?

Topics: Debate, Question, Government Pages: 2 (538 words) Published: November 3, 2013
There are different ways that MPs hold the government to account; there are debates, select committees and questions, however there are many reasons in which these methods can be seen as ineffective. Accountability is forcing the government and it’s ministers to justify their policies, for opposition parties’ accountability may imply alternatives to the proposals of the government.

When debating MPs are able to express their views to influence policy in the debates on current events and actions. Every proposed piece of legislation must be debated at least twice, this is good as the policies may need amendments applied to them, or they may just be policies that would not be in the interest of most of the country. The MPs are able to subject bills to scrutiny, especially if they have a major impact on their constituency; this is to their advantage, as the policies may not go into action and completely discarded. The ministers are forced to present all policies to the House of Commons before any public announcements are to be made.

Although there are limitations when debating, not many people attend the debates therefore the policy is unable to debated efficiently, which means they are unable to fulfil their role as an MP, some MPs may lack knowledge and expertise, in the issue that is being debated.

The select committees have a very effective role as they have the power to question and cross examine ministers, their civil servants and any witnesses they may want to call from any external organisations. MPs gain a lot of knowledge and expertise while being in the select committees, which can be a very good thing as they are able to wisely question and analyse the policies that are being debated. They are able to request access to government papers, so they are able to increase their knowledge on the specific issue.

On the other hand, their relationship is influenced by the whips, who attempt to place the loyal MPs on key committees and have to remove...
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