The political system in Britain and the USA – parliament
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The British Parliament is a very old institution. It is composed of the Sovereign (the King/Queen in Parliament), the House of Lords (the Upper House), and the House of Commons (the Lower House). The Parliament’s main functions are law-making, and controlling and revising the Government work.
A new law proposal is called a bill. It must go through both houses and is then sent to the Queen for Royal Assent. She has the power of veto, which is not very clearly defined. Anyway, it has not been used for the past two hundred years and therefore it has become a tradition that the royal power of veto does not really exist.
The life of a Parliament is divided into periods called sessions. Each session normally lasts a year. The beginning of a new session, called the State Opening of Parliament, is a ceremonial occasion. The Queen reads out her speech, which is the Government’s program for the session. From Monday to Thursday the Ministers answer the MP’s (Member of Parliament) questions for one hour. This is called questioning time. Two days a week, the Prime Minister answers the MP’s questions.
The House of Lords consists of the Lords Temporal (peers and peeresses) and the Lords Spiritual (2 archbishops and 24 senior bishops of the Church of England). Because some of these titles are hereditary there are about 1200 members (this number is changing all the time). Not all of them actually sit in the House. Those who don’t wish to attend may apply for leave of absence. The average daily attendance is about 290 peers.
The members of the House of Lords can only complement not rival the House of Commons. They can also ask to rewrite the bill before it becomes a law.
The House of Commons consists of 651 members of parliament (MPs) who are elected by voters in each region. Out of the 651 seats there are 524 for England, 38 for Wales, 72 for Scotland, and 17 for Northern Ireland. In 1994 there were only 59 women. The chief officer is the Speaker who is elected by MPs to preside over the house. The House of Commons represents parliamentary power and it decides in matters concerning the national policy.
 ) panovník
 ) revidovat
 ) návrh, nabídka
 ) doplňovat, doplněk