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Study Notes

House of Commons

AS, A-Level
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

The House of Commons is the lower house of the UK Parliament, the Lords being the Upper House, in the bi-cameral system. The 650 members of the Commons are known as Members of Parliament, or more commonly MPs.

MPs are either frontbenchers or backbenchers. Frontbenchers include government ministers (there are about 100), their opposing counterparts (called shadow ministers) and spokesmen. All other MPs are called backbenchers. The House of Commons has a variety of functions. Firstly, it sustains and legitimises the executive, which consists of government MPs. On the other hand, the Commons also scrutinises the executive, particularly when considering legislation, which are laws that the Commons has the sovereignty to make – including those concerning finance. Ultimately, the Members of the House of Commons are voted in by and thus represent the electorate.

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