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  • AQA Component Pressure groups

  • Edexcel Component 1.3: Pressure groups and other influences

Background: what you need to know

Both examination specifications require you to know about the factors that influence the success (or lack of success) of pressure groups in influencing government. Keir Starmer is not yet prime minister but effective pressure groups will lobby a party leader who is likely to win office at an imminent general election. He has agreed to hold a free vote on legalising assisted dying in the House of Commons — allowing MPs to vote without the involvement of party whips — in the event of Labour winning a majority.

Governments may have to choose between the arguments made by competing pressure groups. In this case Starmer has sided with the pressure group Dignity in Dying, disappointing campaign group Care not Killing, which disapproves of assisted suicide. The advocacy of a celebrity campaigner, TV personality Dame Esther Rantzen, has helped to put the issue on the agenda.

Click the link below to read the article and then answer the questions:

Keir Starmer pledges free vote on legalising assisted dying in England

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1

  • ‘Pressure groups succeed only if they win the support of the party of government.’ Analyse and evaluate this statement.

    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 1

  • Evaluate the view that the most important factor affecting the success or failure of pressure groups is their ability to win the support of the party of government. [30 marks]

    TIP: Remember the other factors that may affect the success or failure of a pressure group campaign. These include its ability to win over public opinion, favourable media coverage and the resources at the disposal of the group.

Graham Goodlad, Portsmouth High School

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