The British Parliament

Topics: House of Lords, United Kingdom, Westminster system Pages: 2 (636 words) Published: September 15, 2013
The British Parliament is the oldest in the world. It originated in th 12th century as Witenagemot, the body of wise counselors whom the King needed to consult pursuing his policy. The British Parliament consists of the House of Lords and the House of Commons and the Queen as its head. The House of Commons plays the major role in law-making. It consists of Members of Parliament (called MPs for short). Each of them represents an area in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. MPs are elected either at a general election or at a by-election following a death or retirement. Parliamentary elections are held every 5 years and it is the Prime Minister who decides on the exact day of the election. The minimum voting age is 18, and the voting is taken by secret ballot. The election campaign lasts about 3 weeks, The British parliamentary system depends on politicals parties. The party which wins the majority of seats forms the goverment and its leader usually becomes Prime Minister. The Prime Minister chooses about 20 MPs from his party to become the cabinet of ministers. Each minister is responsible for a particular area in the goverment. The second largest party becomes the official opposition with its own leader and "shadow cabinet". The leader of the opposition is a recognized post in the House of Commons. The parliament and the monarch have different roles in the goverment and they only meet together on symbolic occasions, such as coronation of a new monarch or the opening of the parliament. In reality, the House of Commons is the one of three which has true power. The House of Commons is made up of six hundred and fifty elected members, it is presided over by the speaker, a member acceptable to the whole house. MPs sit on two sides of the hall, one side for the governing party and the other for the opposition. The first 2 rows of seats are occupied by the leading members of both parties (called "front benches") The back benches belong to the rank-and-file...
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