Parliaments are to be found in most countries of the world. Their very existence suggests they serve some purpose. But do they? In the United Kingdom, critics suggest that the House of Commons is a marginal political institution, dominated usually by a single party and having no appreciable impact on policy making. Policy proposals are initiated elsewhere and then drawn up and agreed within government. Only then are they placed before Parliament for approval, which it is known in advance will be given. According to two leading students of British politics, ‘the significance of Parliament … is its very insignificance’ (Richardson and Jordan, 1979, p. 121).
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