The Parliament of the United Kingdom


The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the UK Parliament or British Parliament, is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories.[3] It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and its territories. Its head is the Sovereign of the United Kingdom (currently Queen Elizabeth II) and its seat is the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, London.

The parliament is bicameral, consisting of an upper house (the House of Lords) and a lower house (the House of Commons).[4] The Sovereign forms the third component of the legislature (the Queen-in-Parliament).[5][6] 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 on the advice of the Prime Minister,[7] and elected representatives of the 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 a democratically elected chamber with elections held at least every five years.[8] 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 commonly, the House of Lords and are thereby accountable to the respective branches of the legislature. Most cabinet ministers (Secretaries of State) tend to be from the Commons, whilst junior ministers are from both Houses.