The British Parliament works in a large building called the Palace of Westminster (The Houses of Parliament). It contains offices, committee rooms, restaurants, libraries and even some places of residence. It also contains two large rooms. One is where the House of Lords meets, the other is where the House of Commons meets. The British Parliament is divided into two Houses and its members belong to one or other of them. (Only members of Commons are known as MPs – Members of Parliament). The Commons is more important of the two Houses. The person who chairs and controls discussion in the House of Commons is the Speaker. He (or she) decides which MP is going to speak next and makes sure that the rules of procedure are followed. In fact, the Speaker is, officially, the second important commoner in the Kingdom after the Prime Minister. In 1992 for the first time a woman was appointed Speaker, so nowadays MPs address her Madam Speaker.
Traditionally, MPs were not supposed to be professional politicians. They were supposed to be ordinary people, bringing their experience into Parliament. They were not even paid until the beginning of this century. They were supposed to be doing a public service. But that Meant that only rich people could be MPs. Politics in Britain in the last forty years has become professional. Most MPs are fulltime politicians and do another job (if at all) only part-time. Traditionally the House doesn`t sit in the morning. It starts its business at 2.30 p.m. (only on Friday it starts in the morning). MPs mornings are devoted to committee work, research, preparing speeches. Weekends are not free for MPs. The House of Commons is made up of 650 elected members. MPs sit on two sides of the hall, one side for the governing and the other for the opposition. The first two rows of seats are occupied by the leading members of both parties (front-benches).
Each session lasts for days. A proposed law (a bill) has to go through three stages (readings) to become an Act of Parliament. If the majority of MPs vote for the bill, it is sent to the House of Lords. When the Lords agree it is taken to the Queen for Royal assent. Unlike MPs, members of the House of Lords are not elected. They are holders of an inherited aristocratic title. The House of Lords is therefore a relic of earlier times. The House of Lords has more than 1,000 members, but only about 250 take an active part in the work of the House. The House of Lords has little read power nowadays. The power to refuse a proposal for a law is limited. The modern House of Lords is a forum for public discussions. The division of Parliament info two House dates back as 700 years. Today the elected House of Commons has real political power, although members of the House of Lords occupy important posts. Travelling isn`t a vaster of time want to go to London and to see its sight seeing very much. к странице презентаций