Parliament of the United Kingdom

The Parliament of the United Kingdom[note 1] is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the British overseas territories.[5][6] It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is bicameral but has three parts, consisting of the sovereign (Crown-in-Parliament), the House of Lords, and the House of Commons (the primary chamber).[7][8] Both houses of Parliament meet in separate chambers at the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, one of the inner boroughs of the capital city, London.

Parliament of the United Kingdom
of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
58th Parliament
Type
Type
HousesHouse of Commons
House of Lords
History
Preceded byParliament of Great Britain & Parliament of Ireland
Leadership
Queen Elizabeth II
since 6 February 1952
Boris Johnson, Conservative
since 24 July 2019
The Lord McFall of Alcluith
since 1 May 2021
Keir Starmer, Labour
since 4 April 2020
Structure
SeatsHouse of Commons: 650
House of Lords: 784
House of Commons[1]  political groups
Speaker
  Speaker
HM Government
  Conservative Party (361)
HM Most Loyal Opposition
  Labour Party (199)
Other opposition
  Scottish National Party (45)
  Liberal Democrats (12)
  Democratic Unionist Party (8)
  Plaid Cymru (3)
  Social Democratic and Labour Party (2)
  Alba Party (2)
  Alliance Party (1)
  Green Party (1)
  Independent (6)[lower-alpha 1]
Abstentionist
  Sinn Féin (7)
Vacant (2)
  Vacant (2)
House of Lords[2] political groups
Speaker
  Lord Speaker
Lords Temporal
HM Government
  Conservative Party (261)
HM Most Loyal Opposition
  Labour Party (169)
Other opposition
  Liberal Democrats (84)
  Democratic Unionist Party (5)
  Ulster Unionist Party (2)
  Green Party (2)
  Plaid Cymru (1)
  Non-affiliated (42)
Crossbench
  Crossbench (192)
Lords Spiritual
  Bishops (25)
Elections
House of Commons[3]  last election
12 December 2019
House of Commons[4]  next election
On or before 2 May 2024
Meeting place
Palace of Westminster
City of Westminster, London
United Kingdom
Website
www.parliament.uk

The House of Lords includes two different types of members: the Lords Spiritual, consisting of the most senior bishops of the Church of England; and the Lords Temporal, consisting mainly of life peers, appointed by the sovereign,[9] and of 92 hereditary peers, sitting either by virtue of holding a royal office, or by being elected by their fellow hereditary peers. Prior to the opening of the Supreme Court in October 2009, the House of Lords also performed a judicial role through the Law Lords.

The House of Commons is an elected chamber with elections to 650 single-member constituencies held at least every five years under the first-past-the-post system.[10] By constitutional convention, all government ministers, including prime minister, are members of the House of Commons or, less commonly, the House of Lords and are thereby accountable to the respective branches of the legislature. Most cabinet ministers are from the Commons, whilst junior ministers can be from either house.

With the global expansion of the British Empire, the UK Parliament has shaped the political systems of many countries as ex-colonies and so it has been called the "Mother of Parliaments".[11][note 2]

In theory, the UK's supreme legislative power is officially vested in the Crown-in-Parliament. However, the Crown normally acts on the advice of the prime minister, and the powers of the House of Lords are limited to only delaying legislation; thus power is de facto vested in the House of Commons.[13]


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