Has the use of E-Petitions enhanced democracy in the UK?

Petitions are not actively encouraged by Parliament and the Government.

Petitions have a long history in Britain. For over a thousand years they have been a tool for citizens to try to address their grievances to the monarch or to the government. In 1689 the right to petition the King was even enshrined in the Bill of Rights:

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How significant is the power of recall in the UK?

Recall refers to the power to remove (recall) an elected politician from office. Recall is an example of direct democracy and theoretically gives voters significant control over their representatives. In Britain, the Recall of MPs Act (2015) gave voters some power to recall MPs in certain circumstances.

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The MPs Expenses Scandal – How much did it damage the reputation of Parliament?

Parliamentary Scandals are not new. Parliament has been beset by a number of scandals that have damaged the trust in Parliament and politicians. For example:

Neil Hamilton with his wife, Christine.

Cash for Questions – In the mid 1990s a number of Conservative MPs were accused of accepting cash to ask questions in the House of Commons. The most famous of those accused was Neil Hamilton. He subsequently started a defamation action against the Guardian newspaper before dropping it prior to it reaching court. Hamilton lost his Conservative safe-seat in the 1997 election to Martin Bell, who ran as an Independent.

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Why do Cabinet Reshuffles take place and why is the ‘Night of the Long Knives’ so famous?

Harold Macmillan oversaw the Night of the Long Knives.

Cabinet reshuffles happen fairly regularly in the UK and take place for a number of reasons. But there has been no reshuffle anything like that which happened on 13th July 1962 when Harold Macmillan oversaw a reshuffle that was so brutal that it became known as the ‘Night of the Long Knives, after the infamous event of 30th June 1934 when Hitler’s SS purged the SA.

There are a number of reasons that a Prime Minister might want to reshuffle their cabinet:

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Has the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act (2011) been a failed constitutional reform?

When the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act was passed in 2011 it was sold as a significant constitutional reform that would modernise the UK constitution and give more democratic legitimacy to the House of Commons. Prior to this, the calling of General Elections was governed by both statute and convention:

Septennial Act 1716 – This Act mandated that a General Election had to be called at least every seven years. In 1911, the Parliament Act reduced the maximum length of each Parliament to five years.

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