The British System of Government

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THE BRITISH SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT Britain is a constitutional monarchy. That means it is a country governed by a king or a queen who accepts the advice of a parliament. It is also a parliamentary democracy. That is, it is a country whose government is controlled by a parliament which has been elected by the people. The highest positions in the government are filled by the members of the directly elected parliament. In Britain, as in many European countries, the official head of state, whether a monarch (as in Belgium, the Netherlands or Denmark) or a president (as in Germany, Greece or Italy) has little power. The Parliament The British Parliament is divided into two houses , and its members belong to one or other of them, although only members of the Commons are normally known as MPs (Member of Parliament). The Commons is by far the more important of the two houses. The House of Lords consists of over 1000 non-elected members. Members can be divided into the Lords Spiritual, higher bishops of the Church of England, and the Lords Temporal. The latter can be divided into Lords who have inherited their titles, Lords who have been given their titles for their lifetime and Law lords. Only a relatively small number of the members of the House of Lords take an active interest in politics and regularly attend meetings of the House, which usually sits about 145 days each year. The sole power of the House of Lords is to delay bills becoming a law. The speaker of the House of Lords, ...

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