Project BritainProject Britain

British Life and Culture

by Mandy Barrow

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British life and culture - England, Scotland and Wales
The British Parliament

The Queen | The House of Lords | The House of Commons

We live in a democratic country, which means we all have a say in how the country is run. Parliament represents the people. It is where we send our chosen representatives to represent our views in the House of Commons.

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.

What is the job of Parliament?

The main functions of Parliament are: 

  • to pass laws
  • to provide, by voting for taxation, the means of carrying on the work of government
  • to scrutinise government policy and administration, including proposals for expenditure
  • to debate the major issues of the day

Parliament is made up of three parts:

  1. The Queen
  2. The House of Lords
  3. The House of Commons

The Queen

Queen Elizabeth IIThe 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 1715.

More information about the Queen and the Royal Family

The House of LordsThe House of Lords

The 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.

Who sits in the House of Lords?

A person who sits in the House of Lords is a peer

What is the job of the peers in the House of Lords?

The main job of the House of Lords is to 'double check' new laws to make sure they are fair and will work.

The House of Commons

The House of CommonsWho sits in the House of Commons?

A person who sits in the House of Commons is called a Member of Parliament (MP).

The House of Commons has 650 members (MPs) who have been elected by local residents to represent an area of the country in Parliament.

Each MP represents one of 650 constituencies (areas) in the UK and is a member of a political party, such as New Labour or the Conservative party.

What happens in the House of Commons?

The Commons is the most important place for discussing policies and making laws.

Find out more about the House of Commons by visiting House of Commons Chamber

Interesting Fact
No King or Queen has entered the House of Commons since 1642, when Charles l stormed in with his soldiers and tried to arrest five members of Parliament who were there.

How Britain is Governed | Parliament

House of Parliament | Elections | Government

Prime Minister | House of Commons

Making and Passing Laws

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All the materials on these pages are free for homework and classroom use only. You may not redistribute, sell or place the content of this page on any other website or blog without written permission from the Mandy Barrow.

© Copyright Mandy Barrow 2013

Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites and are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant. 
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

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