House of Commons: Structure

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.

Parliamentary Supremacy

  • 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.