L19_Mock exam paper

Topic 2
The role of Parliament
Those who think they are being somehow radical by pointing
out that Parliament plays a marginal role in the making of policy
are in fact being astonishingly conventional.
Most studies of the role of Westminster have concluded that it
is, at best, of marginal or occasional importance in the making
of policy.
However, there are times where its role is far more significant,
for example in so-called free votes, covering topics as diverse as
embryo research and hunting. Here, the executive remains
neutral and the issues are left to parliamentarians to decide. As
a result, rather than being peripheral, the legislature, and the
legislators within it, becomes central.
Even without free votes, Parliament plays an important symbolic
role in legitimisation: in its various procedures it effectively
approves public policies that have been made elsewhere,
making them acceptable to citizens.
Source: adapted from P. DUNLEAVY et al., Developments in British Politics, 8th edn, (2006)
Explain the term free votes used in the extract. (5 marks)
Using your own knowledge as well as the extract, outline the
ways in which Parliament legitimises public policies. (10
‘The House of Lords can often be more effective than the
House of Commons in the scrutiny of the executive.’ Discuss.
(25 marks)
Topic 3
The core executive
Individual ministerial responsibility
The Government has come under pressure to cut the number of
ministers. Although the number has remained steady at just over 100 in
recent years, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, is facing questions in
Parliament about why so many ministers are needed.
A House of Commons select committee chaired by Tory MP Bernard
Jenkin has launched an inquiry. This committee is investigating whether
there are too many ministers, what they actually do and whether they
should continue to be appointed from within Parliament, or from
While having ministers who are not members of either House of
Parliament would massively increase the pool from which ministers
are drawn, it would seriously undermine the accountability of ministers
to Parliament under the convention of individual ministerial
responsibility (IMR).
Part of the investigation will be concerned with the impact that any
reduction in the number of ministers will have on the effectiveness of
government, particularly if the number of civil servants is also cut.
Source: adapted from ‘Top Tory asks: what do Ministers actually do?’
London Evening Standard, p4, 14 September, 2010
Explain the term civil servants as used in the extract. (5
Using your own knowledge as well as the extract, explain
why individual ministerial responsibility is central to the
operation of UK government. (10 marks)
Evaluate the factors that can give the prime minister power
over other cabinet members. (25 marks)

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