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The House of Commons/ Палата Общин

The House of Commons, the lower Chamber of the Parliament,is the real governing body of the UK. It has greater powers thanthe second, upper parliamentary Chamber, the House of Lords.

Their main function is to make laws by passing Acts of Parliament, as well as to discuss current political issues.

The House of Commons is made up of 630 Members of Parliament who are called MP's for short. Each member of Parliament represents a county or a borough ['bʌrə] of the UK.

MP's are elected by voters for a period of five years. The election is held in the form of the voting by secret ballot. The system whenthe winner is the candidate who gets more votes than any other single candidate is known as the-first-past-the-post-system. The Party which obtains the majority of seats in the House of Commons is called the Government and the others - the Opposition and its leader forms the so-called "Shadow Cabinet". The leader of the opposition is a recognized post in the House of Commons.

The House of Commons has seats for only about two thirds of its 630 members. The first two rows of seats are occupied by the leading members of both the Government and the Opposition. According to their seats' location, they are called "front-benchers". The back rows of seats belong to the rank-and-file MP's (the so-called "back-benchers").

The House of Commons is presided over by the Speaker. He seats on the Speaker's chair.

Before every sitting of the House the Speaker walks to the Chamber from his residence within the Royal Palace.

He is wearing a wig and a gown and is accompanied by his Chaplain, Secretary and Serjeant-at-Arms carrying the Mace.

Every bill (a law in the process of making) has to go through several stages in order to become an Act of Parliament. First of all every bill has three readings in the House of Commons. If the majority of MP's vote for the bill, it is sent to the House of Lords for discussion. If the Lords agree to the bill, it is sent to the Queen for signature. If any bill passes through three readings in the House of Commons, a discussion in the Houseof Lords and the Queen's signature it becomes an Act of Parliament or a Law of the Land.


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