The Palace of Westminster – Parliament and the Government
Parliament is different from the Government.
The House of Commons
- The House of Commons is made up of 650 Members of Parliament (MPs) who are elected by the public. They represent the public’s views and concerns. MPs consider and propose new laws. They can also examine government policies by asking other ministers questions about current issues.
- Debates usually takes place in a special room called the Commons Chamber. This room is small and decorated in green. There are benches on two sides of the Chamber, divided by a centre aisle. MPs with opposing views sit facing each other on these benches.The House of Lords
- The House of Lords is made up of around 800 members. Members of the House of Lords are not elected by the public. Many of these ladies and gentlemen are appointed by the Queen, usually on the advice of the Prime Minister. Some are not appointed – instead, they inherit their status as a Lord from their family. They are known as hereditary peers. There are currently 92 of these in the House of Lords.
- People serving in the House of Lords have grand titles such as Lord, Viscount, Earl and Baroness. They have experience of working in many different professions such as medicine, law, business and sports.
- The House of Lords has three main roles: it helps to make laws that have been proposed in the House of Commons; it looks after the public’s interests; and it holds the government to account.
- The members of the House of Lords sit on red benches. The colour red was apparently chosen because many kings from the past favoured the colour.
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