chapter  18
Pages 6

The three powers must therefore be exercised by separate bodies. In order that no one body may gain a pre-eminent position over the other two, there must be a system of checks and balances between them. Given that Montesquieu, in setting out his theory, contrasted the balanced constitution which he believed Britain enjoyed and which protected the liberties of the subject with the absolutist regimes of France and other major European powers, in which all power vested ultimately in the monarch and his narrow coterie of advisors, it is ironic that he wrote at a time when the British governmental system was more closely controlled by one party, and indeed by one man, Walpole, than at any other time before the late 20th century.