What is the House of Commons?


One of the two chambers within the Houses of Parliament within the Palace of Westminster, and the legislative body of the UK. The House of Commons originally was designed to represent the voice of the common people within UK politics as its MP’s are individually elected by their constituencies. MP’s represent those who voted for them and as the legislature, MP’s pass judgement through voting on the bills that the executive puts forward. They scrutinise the specifics of the bills in committees and debate its impacts within the chamber of the Commons. The House of Commons is an arena where key government ministers and figures can be scrutinised and questioned by MP’s (an example of checks and balances) but also for discussion and cooperation.

The House of Commons and it’s MP’s also has an important role in granting money to the government and approving bills to raise taxes. Everything that is passed through the Commons must then be passed by the Lords and given Royal Assent to form a law.

Key Terms:

Westminster bubble or Westminster village – Members of their Parliament and those who work within the politics of Parliament, referring to them as being isolated from life outside of this bubble

Speaker – The chair of the House of Commons, the speaker key role is keeping order during the Commons debates and calls MP’s to speak within the chamber.


A proposal for primary or secondary legislation or to change existing laws, debated by the Commons and Lords, and if passed form legislation.

Secondary legislation

Passed by the Houses of Parliament, ministers and other bodies use the provisions of Acts of Parliament to put forward specific laws or amend existing laws to mirror the Act.

Houses of Parliament – The legislative body of the UK. Consisting of the House of Lords and the House of Commons.

Royal Assent – A traditional formality. The ruling monarch must sign every bill so it can come into force as a law.

Acts of Parliament – Also known as a Statute, an Act is passed by both the House of Lords and House of Commons and given Royal Assent by the Monarch. This primary legislation is more broad than secondary legislation in that the Act sets out principles and policies for ministers and the executive. Ministers use secondary legislation to pass further laws to support Acts.

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