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  • AQA Component 1, Section 3.1: The structure and role of Parliament: interactions of Parliament and other branches of government

  • Edexcel Component 2, Section 3.1: The structure, role and powers of the executive

Background: what you need to know 

This article is concerned with secondary legislation, sometimes known as ‘Henry VIII powers’, which allow the executive to make changes under powers granted by an earlier Act. Secondary legislation allows the government to evade parliamentary scrutiny of its actions. It is an important area to consider when studying the relationship between Parliament and the Executive.

Click to read the articles below and then answer the questions:

The new ‘government by diktat’ bypasses parliament altogether

Make sure that you are able to cite examples of secondary legislation. The article discusses two of these in particular — the extension of policing powers over demonstrations and public health powers adopted by the government in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1

  • ‘Parliament has limited ability to check the power of the Executive.’

    In your answer you should draw on material from across the whole range of your course of study in Politics. [25 marks]

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 2

  • Evaluate the argument that the Executive has acquired too much power at the expense of Parliament.

    In your answer you should draw on relevant knowledge and understanding of the study of Component 1: UK politics and core political ideas. You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks]

    TIP: A relevant Edexcel Component 1 topic is 1.4: Rights in context. The examples discussed in the article relate to the tension between government power and individual rights.

Graham Goodlad, St John’s College

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