What Parliament does

What happens in Parliament?

The main work of Parliament is to make laws, debate topical issues and look at how our taxes are spent to help run the country. The issues that are discussed in Parliament affect us all: health, the environment, transport, jobs, schools, crime. For instance, Parliament has recently debated and voted on how long people arrested on suspicion of terrorism can be held without being charged.

Who gets to work in Parliament?

We live in a democratic country, which means we all have a say in how the country is run. We do this by electing Members of Parliament (MPs) to represent our views in the House of Commons. This part of Parliament has the greatest political power. The second part of Parliament is the House of Lords, whose unelected members complement the work of the House of Commons. The third and final part of Parliament is the Monarch, our Queen, who signs the laws that Parliament votes for.

Where is Parliament?

The Houses of Parliament, also known as the Palace of Westminster, is in the centre of London. As well as the home of the UK Parliament, it is also a royal palace and former residence of great kings. The Palace comprises many famous sites including the green-coloured House of Commons Chamber and the red-coloured House of Lords Chamber where political decisions are made to this day. It also includes the famous Clock Tower, popularly known as Big Ben.

To give the people of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland more say over what happens in their countries, the UK Parliament has devolved (given away) some of its powers to other national and regional bodies. In Scotland, for example, there is the Scottish Parliament which has elected members who make some decisions for Scotland. Wales and Northern Ireland have their own assemblies and there is also a London Assembly.

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