Parliament of Great Britain
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland is a parliamentary monarchy. The Houses of Parliament in London, known also as the Palace of Westminster,
is the place where members of Parliament (MPs) gather together to make laws.
The Parliament consists of 2 Houses: the House of Commons and the House of
Lords. The members of each house meet in sessions which begin at the end of
October and last for about 160 days. All the time Parliament is in session, a
flag can be seen over the building, and when the House of Commons is still
sitting after dark, there is a light over the face of Big Ben.
The party which has the majority of
seats in the House of Commons is called Government, and the others – the
Opposition. The prime Minister is usually the leader of the party that has a
majority in the House of Commons. All the affairs of the state are conducted in
the name of the Queen, but it is the Prime Minister who is the ruler of the
country. The Cabinet consists of the Prime Minister and ministers.
Any M.P. may introduce a bill to the
Parliament. Every bill has 3 readings at first in the House of Commons. The
Speaker is the chairman at all the debates in the House of Commons, and it is
his duty to keep order. The Speaker is elected by all the members of the House
of Commons. He belongs to one of the political parties, but he never votes with
other members. When the votes are equal he votes with the Government. After the
third reading the bill goes before the House of Lords. If the Lords agree to
the bill, it will be placed before the Queen for signature. The Queen having
signed it, it becomes an Act of Parliament.
The chairman of the House of Lords is
the Lord Chancellor. He sits on the woolsack, a large bag of wool covered with
red cloth. It shows that wool made England rich.