Where's the Checks and Balances, Mr. Cameron?
[Update: See Barry’s comments, I seem to misunderstand the proposal.]
The New York Times headlines “
Britain’s New Leaders Aim to Set Parliament Term at 5 Years.” Unlike the US, where we have an executive branch of government, the UK’s executive is the Prime Minister, selected by and from Parliament.
As I understand things, the primary check on the Prime Minister is that if their choices are sufficiently unpopular, their party defects and votes against them, leading to a new election. This threat of government collapse is a major check on the power of Parliament, as evidenced by how both Cameron and Clegg are repeating that “this government will last 5 years.”
So if Parliament will last 5 years, what are the checks on its power?
[Edit: Steps on scrapping ID cards and ContactPoint are very positive, but to my mind, those are symptoms of the already barely-checked power of the Prime Minister.]