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Study questions over British politics.

  1. What are the principal functions of the House of Commons?
  2. In the context of British politics, what is a bill? What is an act? How does a bill become an act?
  3. In what ways can Parliament control and constrain the government?
  4. What is a constituency? How many are there at general elections in the UK? What is an MP? How do you become an MP?
  5. How much freedom does the Prime Minister have to choose a date for a general election? How can this be a useful political advantage?
  6. What is meant by calling the British electoral system a "first-past-the-post" system?
  7. Which parties win, and which parties lose, from the British electoral system? Explain.
  8. Compare the 1992 and 1997 general elections. What were the main changes?
  9. What reforms of the British electoral system does Lord Jenkins propose in the Jenkins report? Who are for these proposals, and who are against them. Why?
  10. What is a by-election?
  11. Who sits in the House of Lords (how do you qualify for membership, how many members are there, what are their party affiliations, etc)
  12. Does the House of Lords have any political power?
  13. What reforms have been proposed for the House of Lords? What arguments are given for and against reform?
  14. After a general election, how is it decided who is to become Prime Minister?
  15. How much freedom does the PM have when it comes to choosing ministers?
  16. How many members are there in the Cabinet?
  17. What is meant by the term collective responsibility used in connection with the government?
  18. What is the shadow cabinet? What is a frontbencher and a backbencher respectively?
  19. What do the three biggest parties in Britain stand for (in broad, general outline!)
  20. Why is politics in Scotland and Wales different than politics in England? What has happened concerning devolution since our textbook was written?