Parliament’s structure explained (primary)
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Parliament’s structure explained (primary)

November 24, 2019


You’ve probably heard of the Government? The
Government’s job is to run the country. Parliament’s job is to check and challenge what the government
does. Let’s take a closer look at what happens in Parliament today… Parliament is made up of three parts – the
House of Commons, the House of Lords, and the king or queen – known as the monarch. The House of Commons chamber is where important
topics are debated, laws are discussed and where Members of Parliament, MPs, can keep
an eye on the work of the Government. There are 650 MPs, and each one represents
an area of the United Kingdom. These areas are called constituencies. Most MPs belong to a political party, which
is a group of people with similar views on how the country should be run… And some MPs are ‘independent’, which
means they aren’t part of any party. MPs are voted for by the people in their constituency
at general elections. The leader of the party that wins the election
becomes the Prime Minister. The Prime Minster and their party run the
country, and are called the Government. Parties not in power are known as the opposition
and they take a leading role in checking and challenging the ideas of Government through
debates in the chamber. At the head of the house sits the speaker.
It’s their job to make sure debates are kept in order – sometimes they can get very
lively! The second part of Parliament is The House
of Lords and it shares the job of making laws with the House of Commons. There are around 800 members and most are
‘life peers’. Life peers are chosen for their knowledge
and experience, so they can use their special skills to look carefully at new laws. Anyone (including you!) can nominate somebody
to be a life peer. Successful nominations are then recommended by the Prime Minister
and approved by the monarch. Once approved you become a Lord if you are
a man, or a Baroness if you are a woman and you are then a Member of the House of Lords,
a ‘peer’, for the rest of your life. In the House of Lords there is also a small
group of ‘hereditary peers’, who have had their position passed on to them by their
family, and some bishops. The third part of Parliament is the monarch. This role is mainly ceremonial these days.
They meet the Prime Minister once a week to hear what’s going on in Parliament, and
sign every new law.

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