Pre-University (CIE) Comparative Government: Specimen Questions with Answers 31 - 31 of 53

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Question 31


Describe in Detail


Compare the speaker of UK with the American speaker.


The Speaker- UK

  • After the general election is over the new house of common meets as soon as possible. The first task with the new House of Commons is the election of speaker.
  • The speaker is elected at the beginning of each parliament by and from among the members of the house.

The Speaker- USA

The speakership has always been an important office. After new house is elected its first duty is to organize itself. The clerk of the last house presides. The roll call is taken to determine the presence of quorum. Then the oath of office is administered. Thereafter the house proceeds to elect its speaker.

Following are the points of comparison between the two:

  • The speaker of American house of representative is a party man. He belongs to majority party in the house. The British speaker, on the other hand, is a nonparty man. After his election to the chair he severs all his relationship from his party and acts impartially.
  • The American speaker openly favors his party in the House of Representatives. He is guided by his party interests. On the other hand, the British speaker is an impartial person. He gets a sentence of exile from politics after his election as a speaker. Hence, he speaks the least after his election as speaker.
  • The British speaker does not take part in debates held within the house, nor does he cast his vote. He only exercises a casting vote in case of tie and that too according to the established precedents and rules of the house. On the other hand, the American speaker takes part in the debates, casts his vote and exercises his casting vote not impartially but as dictated by the interests of his party.
  • The decision of the British Speaker is final. There is no appeal against it. But the decision of the American Speaker is not final. An appeal against his decision can be made to the House. The House can reverse his decision.
  • The office of the British speaker is not contested. The speaker is re-elected, “once a speaker, is always a speaker” is the famous maxim in UK. In general elections too, the opposition does not put up a candidate against him. In America, the office of the Speaker is contested. Both the parties put up their candidates.
  • The American speaker does not enjoy the prestige and Honor which a British speaker enjoys as the latter is a non-party man.
  • The American speaker does not have the power to decide as to whether the bill is money bill or not. The Parliament Act of 1911, has given such a power to the British speaker.
  • The British speaker possess the full disciplinary authority over the members of the House. The American speaker cannot expel a member who is rowdy and does not obey the chair.
  • The British speaker can recognize a member, i.e.. , he can ask any of the aspirant members to speak. The American speaker was deprived of this power in the 1910 - 11, revolt against him. Now, this is the privilege of the house itself.
  • The British speaker՚s authority is final regarding the interpretation of the rules of the House, but in USA final authority in this matter rests with the House itself.
  • In UK, the leadership of the House does not vest with the speaker, it vests with the Prime Minister whereas in USA the speaker leads the House.
  • The British Speaker appoints the chairmen of standing committees. The American speaker, prior to 1910 - 11, possessed the power of appointing chairmen as well as members. The latter was deprived of this power after revolt against the speaker in the year 1910 - 1911.

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