Britain is administered from the Palace of Westminster in
London. This is also known as the Houses of Parliament.
Parliament is made up of two chambers — the House of
Commons and the House of Lords. The members of the House
of Lords are not elected: they qualify to sit in the House
because they are bishops of the Church of England, aristocrats
who have inherited their seats from their fathers, people with
titles. There has been talk of reform in this century because
many Britons think that this system is undemocratic. The
House of Commons, by contrast, has 651 seats which are
occupied by Members of Parliament (MPs) who are elected by
the British public. The United Kingdom is divided into
constituencies, each of which has an elected MP in the House
Each of the major political parties appoints a representative
(candidate) to compete for each seat. Smaller parties may
have a candidate in only a few constituencies. There may be
five or more parties, fighting for one seat, but only one
person — the candidate who gets the greatest number of
votes — can win. Some parties win a lot of seats and some
win very few, or none at all.
The Queen, who is the Head of State, opens and closes
Parliament. All new laws are debated (discussed) by MPs in
the Commons, then debated in the Lords, and finally signed by
the Queen. All three are part of Parliament in Britain.
1. What is Parliament made up of?
2. Are the members of the House of Lords elected?
3. What do Britons think about this system?
4. Who appoints a representative to compete for each seat?
5. Who can win the seat?
6. Who is the Head of State?
1. Where is Wales situated?
2. What is the capital of Wales?
3 Has it always been governed by England?
4. What language is used in the country?
5. How many people speak Welsh?