(redirected from Parliamentary government)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
See: assembly, body, chamber, council, legislature


in the constitutional law of the UK, originally a body summoned to assist the monarch in discussing important matters and dispensing justice and hearing grievances. In modern times it is divided into two houses: the House of Commons, which is democratically elected, and the House of Lords, which is inhabited by hereditary and appointed peers. It sits in Westminster (formerly a royal palace) and is now under the control of the Speaker of the House of Commons. Still known as the High Court of Parliament, its functions are not simply legislative, although that is its most important role today. It is summoned by exercise of the royal prerogative, and this meeting is known as a Parliament that lasts until that Parliament is dissolved. While convened, it divides into sessions, now two a year, each session being terminated by prorogation (again an exercise of the prerogative). The Meeting of Parliament Act 1694 provides (following the Triennial Act 1664) that Parliaments must be called at least once every three years. The convention that requires the important Finance, Army, Air Force and Navy Acts to be re-enacted annually means that Parliament sits at least once a year, although having become the modern government of a modern nation it is in almost constant session.

Its pomp and ceremony are legendary. The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod leads the members of the House of Commons to the House of Lords on the opening of Parliament. The Queen usually attends the opening of a Parliament, and, indeed, each session, to give the Queen's speech (drafted in fact by the cabinet), setting out the legislative programme. A Bill for the Suppression of Clandestine Outlawries is read at the start of every session except the first to show the world that the Commons can initiate bills not in the Queen's speech. In the Lords, the debate on the Queen's speech takes place after a formal reading of the Select Vestries Bill and in the form of a debate on a loyal address.

The Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 represent the present state of the long-running struggle between Lords and Commons, and reflects the fact that universal suffrage, which began in 1832 with the great Reform Act, has strengthened the hand of the Commons over the Lords. The thrust of the Acts read together is that the Lords can at best delay a Bill by sending it back to the Commons, who then have only to bide their time to turn it into law. The 1949 Act was actually passed under the provisions of the 1911 Act, and it was this 1949 provision that effectively made the power a delaying one instead of one that might have allowed a longer period and one in which the electorate has a say in an important matter over which the two houses had disagreed. Its constitutionality has been challenged in the courts but unsuccessfully. See also NATIONAL ASSEMBLY FOR WALES, SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT.

PARLIAMENT. This word, derived from the French parlement, in the English law, is used to designate the legislative branch of the government of Great Britain, composed of the house of lords, and the house of commons.
     2. It is an error to regard the king of Great Britain as forming a part of parliament. The connexion between the king and the lords spiritual, the lords temporal, and the commons, which, when assembled in parliament, form the, three states of the realm, is the same as that which subsists between the king and those states -- the people at large -- out of parliament; Colton's Records, 710; the king not being, in either case, a member, branch, or co-estate, but standing solely in the relation of sovereign or head. Rot. Par. vol. iii,. 623 a.; 2 Mann. & Gr. 457 n.

References in periodicals archive ?
Nonetheless, on this one particular dimension of citizen attitudes--the preference for parliamentary government over authoritarian government--neither sociotropic nor egocentric measures of economic well-being appear to be overly important.
The gaullists were no friends of parliamentary government.
Prolonged preponderance of one branch by another signifies evolution toward democratic parliamentary government, or more ominously, presidential authoritarianism.
After the upcoming elections, we will start piloting a parliamentary government system, including how our Prime Ministers and Cabinets are selected.
The Honored Lawyer of Belarus title was conferred on Chairman of the Permanent Commission for Legislation and State Development of the Council of the Republic Liliya MorozIn recognition of productive public and social activities, a big contribution to the development of legislation and parliamentary government, a number of MPs and workers of the Secretariat of the House of Representatives received state awards.
The IAF and other groups have been calling for sweeping reforms, including a new electoral law that would lead to a parliamentary government and elected prime minister rather than appointed by the king.
Success of the parliamentary system in our country in much depends upon support and close cooperation with all OSCE member states, which have perennial experience of parliamentary government," the President of Kyrgyzstan said.
It is possible that Medvedev will be proved right and Kyrgyzstan will come apart under a weak parliamentary government.
Of course, the government can abuse the powers given to it under the Westminster tradition of parliamentary government.
In Canada, our parliamentary democracy is founded upon certain principles and conventions of parliamentary government inherited from English constitutional tradition.
The editors stress how parliamentary government must evolve to meet new challenges and expectations in each of these areas and often balance tradeoffs among them.
As Macdonald notes: "In the century that followed [Napoleon's] defeat, the financial principles of France's great rival, England, reigned triumphant, and informed observers were inclined to the opinion that the advance of humankind must inevitably lead to the diffusion of parliamentary government and credit-based public finance.

Full browser ?