House of Commons: Structure
Role and Function
- The House of Commons is the lower house of the UK’s bicameral Parliament.
- Key to the process of legislation and scrutiny.
- Its members, Members of Parliament (MPs), are elected through the first-past-the-post electoral system.
- Consists of 650 MPs, each representing an individual constituency in the United Kingdom.
- The leader of the political party with the most MPs typically becomes the Prime Minister.
- The Speaker presides over debates in the House, maintaining order and deciding who may speak.
Operation and Procedure
- Debates and decisions on new laws or changes to existing ones take place here.
- Holds the executive to account through questioning, select committees and debate.
- Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) are a key feature of parliamentary business.
- MPs vote by physically walking into one of two corridors beside the Chamber – the ‘aye’ lobby or the ‘no’ lobby. This process is known as division.
- Early Day Motions, tabled by MPs to publicise a particular event or cause, and to gather support among fellow Parliamentarians.
- The decisions of the House of Commons have superior legal force. This is the principle of parliamentary supremacy.
- Its approval is required for all taxation and spending proposals.
Remember: The House of Commons plays a central role in law-making, policy scrutiny, and representing public opinion in the UK’s political system.