Composition of Parliament

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House of Commons

Made up of approximately 650 members, known as MPs 

Anyone who is: a citizen of GB, the Commonwealth Nations or the Republic of Ireland and over 21, may stand as an candidate in an election

Each MP is elected in a General Election to represent a constituency, which usually takes place every five years

The political party who gains the majority of seats forms the Government

The Government  is roughly 100 MPs selected by the leader who becomes PM to run different Governmental divisions (e.g education, health)

The Heads of each division become Cabinet members, who act as a close circle of advisors to the PM (supposedly)

The 2nd largest party forms the Opposition Government, where each shadow minister looks at the work of their counterpart and critcises and challenges them

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House of Lords

The House of Lords is made up of approximately 700 members who are unelected

Sitting in the House of Lords are:

  • Hereditary peers, peers who have gained their seat in the house by being born into aristocratic titles
  • Life peers, awarded their peerage because of their contributions to society in their field eg. economics, business and politics
  • 26 bishops of the Church of England 
  • And until The Supreme Court opening in 2009, the Law Lords, who do however sit in the Lords if the matter is unrelated to Law in order to preserve the doctrine of separation of powers.

The House of Lords Act 1999 (Labour) means that when the current hereditary peers die, they will not be replaced by their children

As they were born into a peerage and have done nothing to deserve it 

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The Crown/Monarch

The Monarch is still considered as Head of State

Though little power actually remains with the monarchy, it still poessesses three roles in regard to Parliament:

  • the yearly State Opening of Parliament, in which a speech is delivered outlining the Government's agenda for the year,and that the Queen supports them
  • Giving the Royal Assent to a Bill to make it law
  • Finally, to appoint or dismiss the PM and ask the next to form a new Government
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