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  • Edexcel: Component 2.2: The comparative powers of the House of Commons and House of Lords: debates about the relative power of the two houses

  • AQA: Component The structure and role of Parliament: the significance of Commons and Lords

Background: what you need to know

This article discusses the defeats inflicted by the House of Lords on Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda Bill, the centrepiece of his attempt to ‘stop the boats’ bringing illegal migrants to Britain. The bill is a response to a Supreme Court ruling that Rwanda is not a safe destination for asylum seekers.

This is a good example of the relationship between the Lords and the Commons. The latter had earlier overturned ten Lords amendments, mostly designed to increase protection for the rights of those threatened with deportation to Rwanda.

The upper house has now pushed back by voting for seven amendments, which will be considered by the Commons after Easter. This places in jeopardy Sunak’s pledge to start flights to the east African country during the spring. It illustrates the influence that the Lords can exert over the legislative process in certain circumstances.

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

House of Lords inflicts fresh defeats on Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda bill

Follow this link to remind yourself of the November 2023 Supreme Court ruling: UK Supreme Court flexes judicial muscles with Rwanda ruling

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 2

  • ‘The House of Lords is more effective than the House of Commons in holding the executive to account.’ Analyse and evaluate this statement.

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

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 2

  • Evaluate the view that the House of Lords is more effective than the House of Commons in holding the executive to account. 

    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 Component 1 topic is Democracy and participation. The unelected nature of the House of Lords usually inhibits it from taking its opposition to the House of Commons too far. Follow the story as it unfolds from mid-April — experience suggests that the Lords will climb down after making its point.

Graham Goodlad, Portsmouth High School

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