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Parliament of the United Kingdom

Background Color#CFB53B
Text Color#FFFFFF
NameParliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Coa PicCrowned Portcullis.svg
Coa Res110px
Session Roomhouses.of.parliament.overall.arp.jpg
Session Res250px
House TypeBicameral
HousesHouse of Lords
House of Commons
Leader1 TypeLord Speaker
Leader1The Baroness D'Souza
Election11 September 2011
Leader2 TypeSpeaker of the House of Commons
Leader2John Bercow
Election222 June 2009
786 Peers
650 Members of Parliament (MPs)
Structure1 Res250px
House2House of Commons
Structure2UK Commons Current Composition.svg
Structure2 Res250px
Political Groups1Labour Party, Conservative Party, Cross Benchers, Liberal Democrats, Lords Spiritual, UK Independence Party, Non-affiliated peers
Political Groups2HM Government
  Conservative Party (306)
  Liberal Democrats (57)
HM Most Loyal Opposition
  Labour Party (258)
Other Opposition
  Democratic Unionist Party (8)
  Scottish National Party (6)
  Plaid Cymru (3)
  Sinn Féin (5, Abstentionist)
  Social Democratic and Labour Party (3)
  Green Party of England and Wales (1)
  Independent (1)
  Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (1)
  Denis MacShane (1)
{{colorbox| }} Speaker (1)
Last Election26 May 2010
Meeting PlacePalace of Westminster, London, United Kingdom

     Home | Legislature | Parliament of the United Kingdom

The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (commonly referred to as the British Parliament, the Westminster Parliament or, formerly, the Imperial Parliament) is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London. Parliament alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and its territories. At its head is the Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II.

The parliament is bicameral, with an upper house, the House of Lords, and a lower house, the House of Commons. The Queen is the third component of the legislature. The House of Lords includes two different types of members: the Lords Spiritual (the senior bishops of the Church of England) and the Lords Temporal (members of the Peerage) whose members are not elected by the population at large, but are appointed by the Sovereign on advice of the Prime Minister.

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 a democratically elected chamber with elections to it held at least every five years. The two Houses meet in separate chambers in the Palace of Westminster (commonly known as the Houses of Parliament), in London. By constitutional convention, all government ministers, including the Prime Minister, are members of the House of Commons or, less often, the House of Lords, and are thereby accountable to the respective branches of the legislature.

The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Treaty of Union by both the Parliament of England and Parliament of Scotland passing Acts of Union. However, in practice the parliament was a continuation of the English parliament with the addition of Scottish MPs and peers. Parliament was further enlarged by the ratification by the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parliament of Ireland of the Act of Union (1800), which abolished the Irish Parliament; this added 100 Irish members to the Commons and 32 to the Lords to create the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It has been called "the mother of parliaments", its democratic institutions having set the standards for many democracies throughout the world, and the United Kingdom parliament is the largest Anglophone legislative body in the world.

In theory, supreme legislative power is vested in the Queen-in-Parliament; in practice in modern times, real power is vested in the House of Commons, as the Sovereign generally acts on the advice of the Prime Minister, and the powers of the House of Lords have been limited.

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