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By H.W.R. Wade

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Of the genuinely proportional systems the most straightforward is that of the party list. In its simplest form the parties publish their lists of candidates and the electors must vote for one or other list as a whole, the seats then being allotted in proportion to the aggregate vote of each party. But of course that removes the personal connection between constituent and member, and no European country uses it in so rudimentary a form. 21 West Germany has another variant which the Blake Commission considered to be the best model for Britain, though subject to modifications.

It will be convenient, first of all, to deal with those based upon the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949. Professor de Smith maintained that by these Acts Parliament had redefined itself for particular purposes: the sovereign legislature of Queen, Lords and Commons had provided an optional alternative consisting of Queen and Commons only; and this new body could legislate in accordance with the Acts for all purposes other than prolongation of the life of Parliament. 14 With this last point I fully agree, but I cannot square it with the notion that legislation enacted under the Parliament Acts is primary.

Parliament could, by an ordinary Act, redefine itself for the purpose of amending (say) a Bill of Rights so that the competent legislature for this purpose was one which could only act by (say) two-thirds majorities. Parliament could of course pass such a statute, but how could it prevent itself, in its ordinary bicameral form, from repealing it? 18 Another school of thought maintains that the judges will accept entrenchment without further ado and will spontaneously uphold any restrictions laid down by an earlier Parliament as to how later Parliaments shall enact statutes.

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