The UK political system
The United Kingdom is a parliamentary democracy: government is voted into power by the people, to act in the interests of the people. Every adult has the right to vote - known as 'universal suffrage'.
Alongside this system, the UK is also a constitutional monarchy. This is a situation where there is an established monarch (currently Queen Elizabeth II), who remains politically impartial and with limited powers. General election: In a general election the adult population of the UK chooses a candidate to represent each constituency in the House of Commons. Every MP has to stand for re-election. They are usually held every four to five years.
Forming a government
The political party that wins the most seats in a general election forms the new government, led by their party leader - who becomes Prime Minister. The Prime Minister appoints ministers, including the Cabinet, who often work in a government department, and run and develop public services and policies.
Ministers and MPs
Government ministers are chosen from MPs and Lords in Parliament. Your MP may be a member of the party forming the current Government (ie, Labour) but it doesn't necessarily mean they are working 'in government'. Ministers must regularly respond to oral and written questions from MPs and Lords.
Scrutiny of the government
Parliament checks the work of the government on behalf of UK citizens through investigative select committees and by asking government ministers questions. The House of Commons also has to approve proposals for government taxes and spending.
The two-House system
The business of Parliament takes place in two Houses: the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Their work is similar: making laws (legislation), checking the work of the government (scrutiny), and debating current issues. The House of Commons is also responsible for granting money to the government through approving Bills that raise taxes. Generally, the...
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