2 What is Parliament?Parliament is where politicians (MPs) meet to decide laws and make decisions for the United Kingdom. It is not the same as the Government (which runs the country). One of the jobs Parliament does is to check that the Government is running the country properly.
3 What is the job of the Parliament? The main functions of Parliament are: to pass lawsto provide, by voting for taxation, the means of carrying on the work of governmentto scrutinize government policy and administration, including proposals for expenditureto debate the major issues of the day
4 Parliament is made up of three parts: The QueenThe House of LordsThe House of Commons
5 The QueenThe Queen is the official Head of State. Britain has a constitutional monarchy where the Queen only rules symbolically; in reality, power belongs to Parliament. So, although the Queen 'opens' Parliament each year and laws are passed in her name, the Queen herself plays no part in determining decisions made in Parliament. The Queen has the final say on whether a bill becomes law. The last Monarch to reject a law that was wanted by both Houses of Parliament was Queen Anne. She died in
6 The House of LordsThe House of Lords is made up of people who have inherited family titles and those who have been given titles because of their outstanding work in one field or another. There are 675 members of the Lords. The main job of the House of Lords is to 'double check' new laws to make sure they are fair and will work.
7 The House of CommonsThe House of Commons has 659 members who have been elected by local residents to represent an area of the country in Parliament. The members are called MPs (Members of Parliament). Each MP represents one of 659 constituencies (areas) in the UK and is a member of a political party, such as New Labour or the Conservative party. The Commons is the most important place for discussing policies and making laws.
8 General ElectionsA UK Parliament has a maximum duration of five years. At the end of the five year or before, a general election must take place so new members of parliament can be elected by the people.
9 What is General Election? The election of all Members of Parliament (MPs) for each constituency (local area) is called a General Election. In the UK we vote for the best candidate in our local area to represent us in the House of Commons.The UK system is not like the US system where you vote for the President/Vice-President, then your local representatives separately. In the UK, the winning candidate becomes MP and takes a seat in the House of Commons. The party with the majority of seats in the Commons gets to form the government. That party’s leader becomes Prime Minister.In the UK we have the House of Commons and the House of Lords. We can only vote for a MP to represent us in the House of Commons. The Lords are appointed or inherited.
10 How often do General Elections take place?? General elections have to take place at least every five years and are called by the Prime Minister (the leader of the Government).
11 More information Who can become a MP? People are nominated as candidates to become MPs. Any one over the age of 21 can be a candidateHow does an MP get a seat in Parliament?When an MP gets the most votes for his constituency (local area) he gains a seat. This means he has a place in Parliament.
12 What is the difference between Parliament and the Government? The Parliament and Government mean two different thingsParliament represents the peopleGovernment runs the country and is also elected by the people
13 The Government runs the country Being a Member of Parliament (MP) is not the same as being in Government. The political party that has more seats than all the others runs the country.For example after the 1992 general election the largest party, the conservatives, had 21 more seats than the all the others. This is called a majority. With such a majority they could out vote all the other parties, so they formed the Government. Their party Leader, John Major, became the Prime Minister.
14 The Government runs the country After the 1997 general election the picture was rather different: the Labour Party had a majority of 179 and its leader, Tony Blair, became Prime Minister. All parties aim to win a majority of seats. When they do, they become the Government.In the 2010 general election no single party won enough majority of seats to form the government alone. So in order to form a government two or more parties had to join together. David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party, formed a new government, in coalition with the Liberal Democrats.***A coalition is an alliance among individuals or groups, during which they cooperate in joint action, each in their own self-interest, joining forces together for a common cause.
15 The leader of the Government is the Prime Minister The new Prime Minister chooses a team of people from Parliament who will run the country with him. Any MPs or Lords in the team he or she picks are now members of the UK Government.There are normally about 100 people in a UK government.The Government is different from Parliament. The Government is also different from the the rest of the party who won the election.
16 The Prime MinisterUnlike the US, British voters do not choose their Prime Minister (PM). He/she is voted for within their political party.The leader of the political party with the most MPs in the House of Commons is asked by the Queen to become Prime Minister and to form a government that will MANAGE the country. The Prime Minister heads the Government and appoints Ministers, who head individual Government departments.
17 Secretaries of StateThe most important ministers are called Secretaries of State and they form the Cabinet.The Secretaries of State are in charge of a Government Department (a ministry). Each minister is responsible for his department, and makes sure that his department applies the policy of the government
18 The House of Commons Chamber MPs hold most of their debates in the House of Commons Chamber. The Speaker, who controls proceedings, sits on a raised chair at one end of the Chamber.The Government sit on the benches on the Speaker's right, whilst members of the Opposition party MPs occupy the benches on the Speaker's left. The Opposition's job is to oppose the Government. The biggest Opposition party sits directly across from the Government benches.
19 How are laws made in the UK? A proposed new law is called a bill. Bills must be agreed by both Houses of Parliament and receive Royal Assent from the Queen before they can become Acts of Parliament which make our law.The Bill is introduced by a First Reading. This is simply an official notice that a Bill is going to be proposed and what it's about. It gives MPs time to prepare and discuss it.Shortly afterwards comes the Second Reading. At this point the principles are considered on the floor of the House. The Bill is then sent to be looked at by small groups of MPs who examine the Bill in detail.
20 How are laws made?At the Third Reading the Bill is debated and there is a vote. If the Government has a majority, the Bill is then passed to the House of Lords.Once a Bill has passed through both Houses, it is sent to the Queen for the Royal Assent. Once it has Royal Assent the Bill becomes an Act of Parliament. It is the law of the land.Since 1952, The Queen has given Royal Assent to Acts of Parliament.
21 Quick WriteHow is the government system in the UK different than that of St. Kitts? Which parts of the government system did we adopt in St. Kitts and which ones did we leave out? Why do you think that was done?