The Parliament

FCE level: B1.2


Topic: British Institutions


Parliament is responsible for making laws of the country and giving authority to the decisions of the government. A government cannot continue in power if it does not have the support of the Parliament. The main institution of the Parliament is House of Commons which has 646 members. These MPs (member of Parliament) are elected in the following way.

o   Britain is divided in 646 constituencies each with about 90,000 people

o   In each constituency the different political parties propose their candidates 

o   The people vote  and the candidates who wins most votes become MP.

In the house of Common the MPs discuss the problems of the country, criticize or support the actions of the government and decide on new laws. A proposal for new legislation must be approved by a majority of MPs before it becomes a law. There is also a second institution in parliament, the house of lords which has over 1000 members. They are not elected by the people. Some of them are hereditary members (with inherited titles from old aristocratic families); others are life members (former politicians and other well-know people who are given a personal title by the government). Senio bishops of the Church of England and senior judges also sit in the House of Lords. It has a little real power: its purpose is to reconsider bills which have been passed by the Commons. It can make amendments to bills but it cannot reject them. The senior judges in the House of Lords, however, have an important function. They are the final court of appeal of the British judicial system. There are a new plans to reform and modernise the House of Lords but the final decisions have not been made.