Chapter 5 Outline answers to essay questions

Essay answer 1

The principle of representative government

See Article 8 Bill of Rights 1689; Ashby v White (1703-04), the First Protocol European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Human Rights Act 1998.

The right to vote in free elections

Refer to Article 8 Bill of Rights 1689; Ashby v White (1703-04), the First Protocol European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Human Rights Act 1998.

See the Representation of the People Act 1983 as amended by the Representation of the People Act 1989 and the Representation of the People Act 2000. You should review their provisions.

The advantages and disadvantages of the 'first past the post' system

Compare and contrast the different systems outlined in this guide together with their strengths and weaknesses.

You should be able to compare, contrast, and evaluate:
Single Member Systems - The Supplementary Vote
Multimember systems - Single Transferable Vote (STV)
Mixed Systems - Additional Member System (AMS)

Essay answer 2

Introduction

Some basic definitions and identification of the main issues raised by the question should be given in the introduction. You should define:
unitary state; and
devolution.

The rest of the answer to this question requires you to explain how the principle of devolution has been applied to the legislative process within the United Kingdom. One way to break down your answer is to compare the extent to which the legislative function has been devolved to each of the countries within the United Kingdom under the following headings.

Scotland

Scotland Act 1998
Section 1 - there shall be a Scottish Parliament.

The nature and scope of the legislative powers of the Scottish Parliament
Sections 28 and 29 and Sch 4;
Section 101.

This should give you a comprehensive idea of the scope of the Scottish Parliament's legislative powers.

Other issues
Restrictions on the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.
Reserved matters.

Wales

The Government of Wales Act 1998

You should outline the original system and how the powers of the Welsh Assembly have been expanded.

Government of Wales Act 2006

Of particular importance, is the nature and extent of Welsh Assembly measures and the prospects for the extension of the legislative powers of the National Assembly for Wales.

Northern Ireland

Here you should explain how the Northern Ireland Act 1998 set up the Northern Ireland Assembly and give a brief account of its legislative powers. You should then go on to discuss the application of the devolution principle in Northern Ireland. To do this you will need to examine:
the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly by the Northern Ireland Act 2000;
the Northern Ireland Assembly (Elections and Periods of Suspension) Act 2003, which postponed the date of the poll for the election of the next Northern Ireland Assembly and provided a mechanism for setting the date of the next poll;
the Northern Ireland Act 2006, the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2006 and the Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006.

Conclusion

In conclusion it should be noted that the Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006 set up a transitional Assembly. A poll was held on 7 March 2007. Following this, a permanent assembly was set up. The Assembly was in a period of suspension until January 2020, after it collapsed in January 2017 due to policy disagreements between its power-sharing leadership, particularly following the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal. In January 2020, the British and Irish governments agreed on a deal to restore devolved government in Northern Ireland.