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System of government 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 The system of government in the UK is a parliamentary demo ra y! The UK is divided into parliamentary onstit"en ies! #oters in ea h onstit"en y ele t their mem$er of %arliament &'%( in a )eneral *le tion! +ll of the ele ted '%s form the ,o"se of -ommons! 'ost '%s $elong to a politi al party. and the party /ith the ma0ority of '%s forms the government! 1f one party does not get a ma0ority. t/o parties an 0oin together to form a oalition! The House of Commons The ,o"se of -ommons is regarded as the more important of the t/o ham$ers in %arliament $e a"se its mem$ers are demo rati ally ele ted! The %rime 'inister and almost all the mem$ers of the a$inet are mem$ers of the ,o"se of -ommons &'%s(! *a h '% represents a parliamentary onstit"en y. /hi h is a small area of the o"ntry! '%s have a n"m$er of different responsi$ilities! They2 3 represent everyone in their onstit"en y 3 help to reate ne/ la/s 3 s r"tinise and omment on /hat the government is doing 3 de$ate important national iss"es!

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The House of Lords 'em$ers of the ,o"se of 4ords. 5no/n as peers. are not ele ted $y the people and do not represent a onstit"en y! The role and mem$ership of the ,o"se of 4ords has hanged over the last 50 years! Until 1958. all peers /ere2 3 6hereditary7. /hi h means they inherited their title. or 3 senior 0"dges. or 3 $ishops of the -h"r h of *ngland! 8in e 1958. the %rime 'inister has had the po/er to nominate peers 0"st for their o/n lifetime! These are alled life peers! They have "s"ally had an important areer in politi s. $"siness. la/ or another profession! 4ife peers are appointed $y the monar h on the advi e of the %rime 'inister! They also in l"de people nominated $y the leaders of the other main politi al parties or $y an independent +ppointments -ommission for non3party peers! 8in e 1999. hereditary peers have lost the a"tomati right to attend the ,o"se of 4ords! They no/ ele t a fe/ of their n"m$er to represent them in the ,o"se of 4ords! The ,o"se of 4ords is normally more independent of the government than the ,o"se of -ommons! 1t an s"ggest amendments or propose ne/ la/s. /hi h are then dis "ssed $y '%s! The ,o"se of
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4ords he 5s la/s that have $een passed $y the ,o"se of -ommons to ens"re they are fit for p"rpose! 1t also holds the government to a o"nt to ma5e s"re that it is /or5ing in the $est interests of the people! There are peers /ho are spe ialists in parti "lar areas. and their 5no/ledge is "sef"l in ma5ing and he 5ing la/s! The ,o"se of -ommons has po/ers to overr"le the ,o"se of 4ords. $"t these are not "sed often! The Speaker 9e$ates in the ,o"se of -ommons are haired $y the 8pea5er! This person is the hief offi er of the ,o"se of -ommons! The 8pea5er is ne"tral and does not represent a politi al party. even tho"gh he or she is an '%. represents a onstit"en y and deals /ith onstit"ents7 pro$lems li5e any other '%! The 8pea5er is hosen $y other '%s in a se ret $allot! The 8pea5er 5eeps order d"ring politi al de$ates to ma5e s"re the r"les are follo/ed! This in l"des ma5ing s"re the opposition &see the se tion on 6The government7( has a g"aranteed amo"nt of time to de$ate iss"es /hi h it hooses! The 8pea5er also represents %arliament on eremonial o asions!

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Elections UK elections '%s are ele ted at a )eneral *le tion. /hi h is held at least every five years! 1f an '% dies or resigns. there /ill $e a fresh ele tion. alled a $y3ele tion. in his or her onstit"en y! '%s are ele ted thro"gh a system alled 6first past the post7! 1n ea h onstit"en y. the andidate /ho gets the most votes is ele ted! The government is "s"ally formed $y the party that /ins the ma0ority of onstit"en ies! 1f no party /ins a ma0ority. t/o parties may 0oin together to form a oalition! European parliamentary elections *le tions for the *"ropean %arliament are also held every five years! *le ted mem$ers are alled mem$ers of the *"ropean %arliament &'*%s(! *le tions to the *"ropean %arliament "se a system of proportional representation. /here seats are allo ated to ea h party in proportion to the total n"m$er of votes it has /on! Contacting elected members +ll ele ted mem$ers have a d"ty to serve and represent their onstit"ents! :o" an get onta t details for all yo"r representatives and their parties from yo"r lo al li$rary and from ///!parliament!"5! '%s. +ssem$ly mem$ers. mem$ers of the 8 ottish
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parliament &'8%s( and '*%s are also listed in The Phone Book. p"$lished $y ;T and in Yellow Pages! :o" an onta t '%s $y letter or telephone at their onstit"en y offi e or at their offi e in the ,o"se of -ommons2 The ,o"se of -ommons. <estminster. 4ondon 8<1+ 0++. telephone 020 7729 3000! 1n addition. many '%s. +ssem$ly mem$ers. '8%s and '*%s hold reg"lar lo al 6s"rgeries7. /here onstit"ents an go in person to tal5 a$o"t iss"es that are of on ern to them! These s"rgeries are often advertised in the lo al ne/spaper!
This text is taken from Life in the United Kingdom a !uide for "e# $esidents %rd edition &age '(% ) Cro#n Copyright (*'%

British Council 2013