Parliament of the United Kingdom

The Parliament of the United Kingdom[lower-alpha 2] is the supreme legislative body[lower-alpha 3] of the United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories.[5][6] It meets at the Palace of Westminster, London. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is bicameral but has three parts, consisting of the sovereign (King-in-Parliament), the House of Lords, and the House of Commons (the primary chamber).[7][8] In theory, power is officially vested in the King-in-Parliament. However, the Crown normally acts on the advice of the prime minister, and the powers of the House of Lords are limited to only delaying legislation; thus power is de facto vested in the House of Commons.[9]

Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Type
Type
HousesHouse of Lords
House of Commons
SovereignMonarch of the United Kingdom
History
Established1 January 1801
12 June 1215
Preceded byParliament of Great Britain & Parliament of Ireland
Succeeded byRevolutionary Dáil Éireann (in Ireland only)
Leadership
Charles III
since 8 September 2022
Rishi Sunak, Conservative
since 25 October 2022
Keir Starmer, Labour
since 4 April 2020
Structure
SeatsHouse of Lords: 782
House of Commons: 650
House of Lords[1]
political groups
Speaker
  Lord Speaker
Lords Temporal
HM Government
  Conservative Party (262)
HM Most Loyal Opposition
  Labour Party (174)
Other opposition
  Liberal Democrats (83)
  Democratic Unionist Party (6)
  Ulster Unionist Party (2)
  Green Party (2)
  Plaid Cymru (1)
  Non-affiliated (41)
Crossbench
  Crossbench (185)
Lords Spiritual
  Bishops (25)
House of Commons[2] 
political groups
Speaker
  Speaker
HM Government
  Conservative Party (356)
HM Most Loyal Opposition
  Labour Party (195)
Other opposition
  Scottish National Party (44)
  Liberal Democrats (14)
  Democratic Unionist Party (8)
  Plaid Cymru (3)
  Social Democratic and Labour Party (2)
  Alba Party (2)
  Alliance Party (1)
  Green Party (1)
  Independent (13)[lower-alpha 1]
Abstentionist
  Sinn Féin (7)
Elections
House of Commons[3] 
last election
12 December 2019
House of Commons[4] 
next election
On or before 24 January 2025
Meeting place
Palace of Westminster
City of Westminster, London
United Kingdom
51°29′57.5″N 00°07′29.1″W
Website
www.parliament.uk

The House of Commons is an elected chamber with elections to 650 single-member constituencies held at least every five years under the first-past-the-post system.[10] By constitutional convention, all government ministers, including prime minister, are members of the House of Commons or, less commonly, the House of Lords and are thereby accountable to the respective branches of the legislature. Most cabinet ministers are from the Commons, whilst junior ministers can be from either house.

The House of Lords is the second chamber of Parliament.[11] The House of Lords includes two different types of members. The most numerous are the Lords Temporal, consisting mainly of life peers appointed by the sovereign on the advice of the prime minister,[12] and of 92 hereditary peers. The less numerous Lords Spiritual consist of the most senior bishops of the Church of England. Prior to the opening of the Supreme Court in October 2009, the House of Lords also performed a judicial role through the Law Lords.

The UK Parliament has shaped the political systems of the nations once ruled by the British Empire, and thus has been called the "Mother of Parliaments".[13][lower-alpha 4]


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