Rev Kenneth Stewart

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Parliamentary Democracy

The British Parliamentary system is, in great measure, democratic in form – which means that all the citizens of the United Kingdom who qualify by reason of age (providing they are not disqualified due to mental incapacity, incarceration or other legal impediment) are eligible to have a say in the making and administration of the laws of the land.

This means that in a very real sense, millions of people in the United Kingdom – known as the electorate – are effectively participating in Parliament. That many of these people feel disenfranchised, for whatever reason, is undoubtedly true but it is also a moot point: The fact remains that, in our system of government, the whole electorate, or as many of them as wish to do so by, participate in government by the act of voting.

Due to the historical difficulty of participating in a direct and practical way, the democratic principle is realised through a system of representation. According to this system, the whole of the electorate choose representatives to act on their behalf. And, as is universally acknowledged, ‘the people do that by means of their representatives that which it is impracticable for them to do in their own persons’.

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