House of Commons chamber

  • Inside the House of Commons

    It's where you'll find Members of Parliament, or MPs, at work. But what happens on these green benches? You can find out more in this photo story...

  • Arrive early. Seating is limited

    The chamber is where MPs debate and vote on new laws for the UK. It can get crowded because there aren't enough seats for all 650 MPs.

  • A chamber in ruins

    Prime Minister Winston Churchill looks through the remains of the House of Commons after it was hit by a bomb during World War II. Image Copyright: Palace of Westminster 2010, WOA 1922

  • Historic debates happened here

    MPs have discussed and voted on many important issues in the chamber. In the early 1890s, Prime Minister William Gladstone argued in favour of giving the people of Ireland the right to govern themselves. Image Copyright: Palace of Westminster 2010, WOA 3401

  • The House of Commons today

    Today, the chamber is still a place where MPs discuss topics that affect everyone in the UK. MPs are able to ask questions of the prime minister, and the other MPs in government, to make sure they are doing their job running the country.

  • The party seating plan

    MPs sit in the chamber alongside other members of their political party. MPs in the governing party sit behind the prime minister (currently David Cameron MP). Opposition MPs sit behind the leader of the opposition (currently Ed Miliband MP).

  • Who gets to sit up front?

    Some MPs are selected by their party leaders to be spokespersons on important issues, like education or defence. They sit on the front benches. Spokespersons for the government are called 'ministers'. Those for the opposition are called 'shadow ministers'.

  • Life on the back benches

    MPs who don't have jobs as ministers or shadow ministers are known as 'backbenchers'. They often have more time to speak up for the people who voted for them. When MPs take part in debates, they stand up one at a time to make their points.

  • Keeping order in the chamber

    The Speaker of the House of Commons sits in a large chair at one end of the chamber. The Speaker makes sure MPs follow the debate rules. John Bercow MP is the current Speaker. He was elected by the other MPs. Image Copyright: Palace of Westminster Collection 2010, WOA 356

  • Don't be a stranger

    Members of the public can gain entry to the chamber to watch a debate. They sit above MPs, in the Public Gallery. Members of the public used to be called 'strangers' in Parliament, because they were neither MPs nor Lords. Image Copyright: Palace of Westminster 2010, WOA 3936

  • The place where the country's laws are made

    The House of Commons is one of the two Houses of Parliament. Together with members of the House of Lords, MPs have the big responsibility for making decisions about the rules that should govern our country.

Look inside the chamber

A bomb destroyed the House of Commons chamber during World War II. The chamber was rebuilt and today is still where MPs meet to debate about how our country should be governed.

Would you like to see inside? This is the story of the House of Commons chamber.


Related links
 

MPs in the House of Commons
Your guide to the men and women in the House of Commons.

Photo story: Lords chamber
Have a look inside Parliament's second chamber: the House of Lords. 

The monarch in Parliament
What does the Queen have to do with Parliament? Check this out.