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February 2011 An Introduction to the new Parliament Greater London Volunteering
Parliamentary Outreach A service from the Houses of Parliament Politically neutral Aim is to increase knowledge and engagement with work and processes of Parliament Not an alternative to MPs
General Election Took place on May 6 2010 What was decided? 650 seats in House of Commons UK Government What about the House of Lords?
General Election 2010
Election Results If a single party had won over 50% of seats: -automatically form Government However, no party received over 50% of seats: ◦ Largest party could have formed minority Government ◦ Two parties formed coalition Government ◦ There could have been a re-election
Post Election Coalition formed between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats Cabinet formed Shadow Cabinet announced New Parliament convenes / MPs sworn in Membership of Committees announced
What is Parliament? House of Commons The Monarch House of Lords
What does Parliament do? Makes and passes laws (Legislation) Holds Government to account Enables the Government to set taxes
What issues does Parliament cover? Parliament debates and discusses a huge range of subjects that affect us all Health and housing, schools and pensions, jobs and training, the way in which we choose our politicians, the way our streets are policed, laws on immigration, roads and railways, how our energy is provided – all are topics debated in Parliament Your representative in Parliament can raise issues important to you
The House of Commons
The House of Commons Is the democratically elected chamber of Parliament. There are 650 MPs are usually elected every 4 to 5 years.
House of Commons - What does it do? Making and passing laws Holding the Government to account Raising key issues Representing constituents Approving the Budget, public expenditure and allowing government to set taxation.
The Government The Prime Minister The Cabinet
Government The party, or parties, that can command a majority of seats in the House of Commons forms the Government The Government runs public departments i. e. The Home Office, Benefits Agency The Government proposes new laws to Parliament The Government is accountable to Parliament
Parliament (Westminster) Commons, Lords, Monarch • • • Holds Government to account Passes laws Enables taxation Represents public Raises key issues Government (Whitehall) • Approximately 110 members • MPs and Lords (Usually) • Chosen by Prime Minister • Runs public services • Accountable to Parliament
The Work of an MP In the Constituency Helps constituents with problems Visits groups and individuals to hear issues/ concerns Represents constituents to various bodies Campaigns In Parliament Represents their constituency Raises issues on behalf of constituents Passes new laws Scrutinises the work of Government
Representing the constituency Questions to Ministers Adjournment/ Westminster Hall debates Early Day Motions Meetings with Ministers
Scrutiny/ campaigning As well as questions, debates, early-day motions Select Committees All-Party Parliamentary Groups 10 -Minute Rule Bill/ Private Members Bills
Legislation All UK laws decided by Parliament Government and individual members can propose laws However, majority of laws passed come from Government e. g. Welfare Reform Act
How a Bill becomes law Commons Public Bill Committee Bill presented / First Reading Second Reading Third Reading Committee of the Whole House Lords Bill presented / First Reading Report Second Reading Committee (whole House) Report Third Reading After Consideration of Lords Amendments Ping Pong Royal Assent Regulations
The House of Lords
House of Lords The House of Lords is the second chamber of Parliament, often known as the revising House. There are more than 700 Members (777 in November 2010) Most are Life Peers, but there also: ◦ 92 Hereditary Peers ◦ 26 Bishops
The role of the House of Lords All Members of the House of Lords represent you They play an important role in the passing of laws They hold Ministers to account through questions and debates They debate key issues
The Monarch ØA politically neutral role ØSigns off laws passed by Parliament (Royal Assent). ØOpens and closes Parliament each year
Get involved! You can get involved through lots of different ways including: Contacting your MP Contacting a Member of the Ho. L Sending a petition Working with a Select Committee
Contacting your MP You can contact your local MP about any issue that affects you in your constituency. You can request that your MP asks a question, presents a petition or raises a debate on your behalf. You can find out who your MP is on the Parliament website
Contacting Members of the House of Lords You can contact any Member about issues that you would like Parliament to look at. You can request that a Member asks a question or raises a debate on your behalf. It is useful to contact a Member who has a particular interest in your issue. You can find out what individual Members are interested in by looking on the Parliament website.
General Advice Local MP in first instance Identify & contact Parliamentarians with an interest Be clear on aims Remember party & Government positions Be positive and proactive
Where can I get information? www. parliament. uk 020 7219 4272 – Commons information 020 7219 3107 – Lords information