How useful is the Westminster Model for understanding contemporary British Politics?
“The British political system and the whole clapped out Westminster architecture, and the language that we use about politics, it's completely unsustainable. You either decide to be part of that transition to do something different. Or you cling to old certainties.” Nick Clegg
The British system of government has been characterised by The Westminster Model as its main traditional institution for the past century. Together with the other commonwealth countries, the United Kingdom's democratic parliamentary system of government features important characteristics such as a sovereign parliamentary, unitary state, a constitutional monarchy, representative democracy, the rule of law and a two-party system with a single party majority. These features all together make up the Westminster Model. However due to recent changes to the British system of government many scholars argue that it is an inaccurate way to describe the British constitution of the Westminster model. Constitutional reform and recent proposals have caused several key features and principles of the Westminster Model to be eroded. Therefore the Westminster Model is often considered to be ineffective when explaining contemporary British politics. However, many politicians such as Nick Clegg state that we have to embrace this transition to a modern system of government rather than wanting to hold onto the traditional one: ‘the least progressive thing to do is to cling to old certainties” (Stratton, Guardian, 2010).
This essay will outline both the arguments for and against the end of the Westminster Model. It will discuss features of this particular model of the British system of government on its own and give arguments why these principles of the Westminster model differ from the consensus model due to recent proposals as well as changes. I will conclude with stating that the Westminster Model is indeed an...