PARLIAMENT

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by CBBC

What is a paliament?
It's where politicians meet to decide laws and
make decisions for the United Kingdom.
For example, how money is spent on schools,
hospitals and the police.

The three parts of Parliament
1 The House of Commons
2 The House of Lords
3 The Monarchy
The Houses are in the Palace of Westminster in London.
There are more than 1,000 rooms and
more than two miles of corridors!

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What is the House of Commons?
The House of Commons is the most
powerful of Parliament's two houses.
It has 659 members who are elected when
the whole nation votes in a general election.
The members are called MPs.
They are elected by people in their constituency

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What is the House of Lords?
The House of Lords is Parliament's second chamber.

Its main job is to 'double check' new laws
to make sure they are fair and will work.

There are 675 members of the Lords.
They are not elected.
They come from many different backgrounds.

The House of Lords does not have the power
to stop a new law that the commons wants,
but it can delay it.

It can do this because bills must go through
both Houses before they become 'Acts' (laws).

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Where does the Queen fit in?
The Queen has the final say on whether a bill becomes law.
This is because the Queen is our head of state.
What actually happens is that she accepts
the advice of her government.


The last Monarch to reject a law that was wanted
by both Houses of Parliament was Queen Anne.
She died in 1715.

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Who is the Prime Minister?
The Leader of the political party that has
the most MPs wins the right to be Prime Minister.
The current Prime Minister is Tony Blair.
He has 413 MPs.
The next biggest group of MPs is the Conservatives,
they have 166 MPs.
After the general election the Queen asked Tony Blair
to form a government.

The Prime Minister lives at 10 Downing Street.

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What is the Government?
The Government is the group of people
who Tony Blair has chosen to help him run the country.
There are normally about 100 people in a UK government.
This is different from Parliament.
It is also different from the Labour Party.
The making of a Government

1 A general election is held.
All 659 MPs are chosen when the country votes.

2 The votes are counted.
The leader of the party with the most
MPs can become Prime Minister.

3 The new Prime Minister choses a team of people
from Parliament who will run the country with him.

4 Any MPs or Lords in the team he picks are
now members of the UK Government.

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Who are the cabinet?
The cabinet is part of the Government.
It is a group of only the most senior ministers
in Tony Blair's team.

There are about 20 people in the cabinet.
They meet once a week around
a large table at 10 Downing street.
Cabinet ministers advise Tony Blair and
make decisions about what the whole Government should do.

Each cabinet minister also has there own particular job.
This is the part of the Governments work
that they are personally responsible for.

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What is an MP?
'MP' stands for Member of Parliament.
They represent everyone in their constituency,
even the ones who didn't vote for them.
They're based in the House of Commons.

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