The Structure of parliament

Revision on the structure parliament.

Basic, non detailed information

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Parliament is divided into three parts:

  • The house of commons (lower house)
  • house of lords (upper house)
  • Monarchy (crown in parliament)

House of commons is the most senior chamber.

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The House of commons


  •  The HOC is made up of 650 MP's (on average)

  • Each MP is elected by  a single member parliamentry constituency, using first past the post

  • MPs are representatives of a party and are subject to a system of party discipline

  • Most MPs are backbenchers, minority are frontbenchers
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The House of commons


The house of commons is politically and legally the dominant  chamber of Parliament

  • The HOC has supreme legislative power 

- They can make, unmake and ammend any law

  • The HOC alone can remove the government of the day

-  This power is based on the convention of collective ministerial responsibility

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House of Lords


  • Life peers (678 of them)

- Peers who are entitled to sit in the lords for their own lifetime

- Appointed under Life Peerages act(1958) , but appointed by the PM with recomendations from opposition leaders.

  • Heriditary peers (92 of them)

- Hereditary Peers hold inherited titles

- Consist of five ranks: Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount and Baron.

  • 'Lord's Spiritual' (26 of them)

- Bishops and Archbishops of the Church of England

- Traditionally appointed by PM, on the basis of recomendations by the Church of England

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House of Lords


  • Delay bills for up to one year (not money bills)

  • Cannot defeat messures which have been published in the governments election manifesto (sailsbury convention)

  • Veto powers - can delay general elections, sack senior judges and introduce secondary legislation
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The Monarchy


  • Not welcome in parliament (except at ceremonial opening of parliament)
  • Never allowed in the House of Commons
  • Only part of the legislate as the royal assent (signiture) is needed for propossed legislation to become legitimate.
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The Monarchy


  • Appoints government
  • Opends and dismisses Parliament
  • Queen's Speech
  • Royal assent
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