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Parliament of the UK

•Makes laws
•Changes laws
•Checks the work of the
government
3 elements
• The Monarch
• The House of Commons
• The House of Lords
Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament)
The Palace of Westminster
contains:
• 2 big rooms (House of Commons, House of Lords)
• Offices
• Committee rooms
• Restaurants
• Libraries
The House of Commons
• No ‘front’
• No desks
• Green
benches

• No names on benches
• Not enough room for all the MPs
• Informal atmosphere
The House of Commons- the most important element
of Parliament
• Has the greatest political power
• 646 Members of Parliament (MPs)
• The House admits 427 MPs
• Presided over by the Speaker
• Governing party –on the right
• The opposition – on the left
• Front benchers – the leading
members of the parties
• Back-benchers – less important
members of the parties
A tour of the House of Commons
• http://www.parliament.uk/about/visiting/virtualtours/co
mmons-tour/index.htm
The Working Program in the House of Commons

• From Monday to
Thursday – 14.30 – 22.30
• Friday –from morning to
early afternoon
• In the morning –
committee work, research,
preparing speeches,
dealing with the problems
of constituents
• Week-end – visiting the
constituencies
The Parliamentary Day
• Prayers

• Question time – the most well-attended part,


- the noisiest part,
- lasts for about an hour,
- questions addressed to government ministers,
- questions are not spontaneous,
- questions- 2 days in advance

• Debate political issues


Voting in the House of Commons
• Not done by show of hands
• 2 lobbies (corridors): “Ayes” –
yes, “Noes”- no
• MPs walk through one of the
corridors
• Clerks record the names
• Takes about 10 minutes
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politic
s/7609047.stm
The Speaker
• Conducts business in the House of Commons
• Keeps order in the House of Commons
• Is not allowed to speak in debates or ask
questions
• Decides which MP is going to speak next
• Is chosen by the other MPs
• Does not belong to any political party
• The Speaker’s most well-known words:
“Order!Order!”
• Deals with his constituents’ problems like all
the other MPs
Do you know that …?
• The House of Commons originally sat
in a chapel
• MPs do not address each other directly
or by name
• They talk to the Speaker and refer to
Honorable and Right Honorable
friends
• England – the only country in the UK
having no separate parliament
• The queen is not allowed into the House
of Commons
The House of Lords
•675 members
•Not elected
•‘double checks’ new laws
to make sure they will
work
•Cannot stop a new law, it
can only delay it.

http://www.parliament.uk/about/visiting/virtualtours/lords-
tour/index.htm House of Lords virtual tour
4 types of Lords
• Life peers (the majority)
• Hereditary peers (92) can no
longer pass membership to family
members
• Law Lords (the country’s most
senior judges)
• Bishops (26 Archbishops and
bishops of the Church of England)
Do you know that…?
• Colleagues refer to each other as
Noble Lords or Ladies
• Lord Speaker conducts business in
the House of Lords
• The Lord Speaker sits on a
woolsack – a large wool-stuffed
cushion covered with red cloth. It
has neither back nor arms.
The woolsack
The State Opening of Parliament
• Life of a Parliament is divided
into sessions
• A session – about a year
• Each session begins with the
State Opening of Parliament
• The Monarch opens
parliament
The State Opening of Parliament
State Opening

The Queen
Leaves Buckingham
Palace

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