Quick facts about the UK Parliament

You can’t remember your lessons about the British history but you don’t want to look uncultured?
Here are some key facts you should know if you want to excel in British society:

– England is a constitutional monarchy, which means a Royal Family, but with almost no power, and a Parliament, which is making laws and decisions in the UK, although some issues regarding Scotland, Wales and Northern Island are now dealt with by their respective government.

– The Parliament is divided between two houses: the elected House of Commons and the appointed House of Lords. All decisions have to be approved by both houses.

– Both houses are composed by members of the Government (Prime Minister, ministers) and by members of the Opposition.

– Today, the Conservatives (with the Prime Minister Theresa May who succeeded to David Cameron in 2016) have the power while the Labour and the smaller parties like the Liberal-Democrats are in the Opposition.

– The House of Commons is the biggest house with 646 Members of Parliament (MPs). Although the House of Lords also scrutinises proposed legislation, MPs have the final say about bills. The Speaker is controlling the proceedings in this chamber.

– The job of the 750 peers of the House of Lords is to double-check and revise proposed new laws. This is also the supreme court of appeal. The peers may be appointed or hereditary peers.

– Finally, the Queen has mostly ceremonial powers: she can suspend and call back the Parliament, she can appoint and remove Ministers, and she is responsible for appointing the Prime Minister after a general election or resignation. She can also give her royal pardon and she is commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces.

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