House of Commons

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The House of Commons is the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada and historically was the name of the lower houses of the Kingdom of England, Kingdom of Great Britain, Kingdom of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Southern Ireland. Roughly equivalent bodies in other countries which were once part of the British Empire include the United States House of Representatives, the Australian House of Representatives, the New Zealand House of Representatives, and India's Lok Sabha.

Lower house chamber of a bicameral legislature

A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house.

Parliament legislature whose power and function are similar to those dictated by the Westminster system of the United Kingdom

In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: representing the electorate, making laws, and overseeing the government via hearings and inquiries.The term is similar to the idea of a senate, synod or congress, and is commonly used in countries that are current or former monarchies, a form of government with a monarch as the head. Some contexts restrict the use of the word parliament to parliamentary systems, although it is also used to describe the legislature in some presidential systems, even where it is not in the official name.

Kingdom of England Historic sovereign kingdom on the British Isles (927–1649; 1660–1707)

The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 927, when it emerged from various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until 1707, when it united with Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Contents

In the UK and Canada, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. The leader of the majority party in the House of Commons by convention becomes the prime minister. Since 2010 the House of Commons of the United Kingdom has had 650 elected members, and since 2015 the House of Commons of Canada has had 338 members. [1] The Commons' functions are to consider through debate new laws and changes to existing ones, authorise taxes, and provide scrutiny of the policy and expenditure of the Government. It has the power to give a Government a vote of no confidence.

An upper house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house. The house formally designated as the upper house is usually smaller and often has more restricted power than the lower house. Examples of upper houses in countries include the Australian Senate, Brazil's Senado Federal, the Canadian Senate, France's Sénat, India's Rajya Sabha, Ireland's Seanad, Malaysia's Dewan Negara, Myanmar's Amyotha Hluttaw, the Netherlands' Eerste Kamer, Pakistan's Senate of Pakistan, Russia's Federation Council, Switzerland's Council of States, United Kingdom's House of Lords, and the United States Senate.

Prime minister most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system

A prime minister is the head of a cabinet and the leader of the ministers in the executive branch of government, often in a parliamentary or semi-presidential system. A prime minister is not a head of state or chief executive officer of their respective nation or a queen/king, rather they are a head of government, serving typically under a monarch in a hybrid of aristocratic and democratic government forms or a president in a republican form of government.

House of Commons of the United Kingdom Lower house in the Parliament of the United Kingdom

The House of Commons, officially the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Owing to shortage of space, its office accommodation extends into Portcullis House.

History and naming

The House of Commons of the Kingdom of England evolved from an undivided parliament to serve as the voice of the tax-paying subjects of the counties and of the boroughs. Knights of the shire, elected from each county, were usually landowners, while the borough members were often from the merchant classes. These members represented subjects of the Crown who were not Lords Temporal or Spiritual, who themselves sat in the House of Lords. The House of Commons gained its name because it represented communities (communes). [2] Members of the Commons were all elected, while members of the upper house were summoned to parliament by the monarch, usually on the basis of a title which would be inherited after the holder's death, or because they held a position in the realm that warranted special recognition, such as the bishops of the English and Welsh dioceses. After the Reformation, these bishops were those of the Church of England.

House of Commons of England parliament of England up to 1707

The House of Commons of England was the lower house of the Parliament of England from its development in the 14th century to the union of England and Scotland in 1707, when it was replaced by the House of Commons of Great Britain. In 1801, with the union of Great Britain and Ireland, that house was in turn replaced by the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.

Ceremonial counties of England Collective name for areas, in England, to which a Lord Lieutenant is appointed

The Counties and areas for the purposes of the lieutenancies, informally known as ceremonial counties, also referred to as the lieutenancy areas of England, are areas of England to which a lord-lieutenant is appointed. Legally, the areas in England, as well as in Wales and Scotland, are defined by the Lieutenancies Act 1997 as "counties and areas for the purposes of the lieutenancies in Great Britain", in contrast to the areas used for local government. They are also informally known as "geographic counties", to distinguish them from other types of counties of England.

Knight of the shire was the formal title for a member of parliament (MP) representing a county constituency in the British House of Commons, from its origins in the medieval Parliament of England until the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 ended the practice of each county forming a single constituency. The corresponding titles for other MPs were burgess in a borough constituency and baron for a Cinque Ports constituency. Knights of the shire had more prestige than burgesses, and sitting burgesses often stood for election for the shire in the hope of increasing their standing in Parliament.

The British House of Commons Chamber in London House of Commons Chamber 1.png
The British House of Commons Chamber in London

Since the 19th century, the British and Canadian Houses of Commons have become increasingly representative, as suffrage has been extended. Both bodies are now elected via universal adult suffrage. However, from the Middle Ages until the early 20th century the suffrage was limited in various ways, typically to some male property-owners; in 1780 just 3% of the population could vote. [3] By the 18th century this created many rotten boroughs with a tiny electorate where an influential person effectively controlled representation. In all countries, the House of Commons now as in the past may be prorogued for an election or some other purpose only by the Crown, represented outside the United Kingdom by the Governor General of each Commonwealth realm.

Suffrage right to vote

Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise is the right to vote in public, political elections. In some languages, and occasionally in English, the right to vote is called active suffrage, as distinct from passive suffrage, which is the right to stand for election. The combination of active and passive suffrage is sometimes called full suffrage.

Universal suffrage Political concept

The concept of universal franchise, also known as general suffrage or common suffrage of the common man, consists of the right to vote of all adult citizens, regardless of wealth, income, gender, social status, race, or ethnicity, subject only to minor exceptions. In its original 19th-century usage by political reformers, universal suffrage was understood to mean only universal manhood suffrage; the vote was extended to women later, during the women's suffrage movement.

Middle Ages Period of European history from the 5th to the 15th century

In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.

The Canadian House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Parliament2.jpg
The Canadian House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa

Specific bodies

The Irish House of Commons
The first purpose-built House of Commons chamber in the world. Painted c.1780. IrishHC1780.jpg
The Irish House of Commons
The first purpose-built House of Commons chamber in the world. Painted c.1780.

British Isles

Palace of Westminster meeting place of the Parliament of the United Kingdom

The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Commonly known as the Houses of Parliament after its occupants, the Palace lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in central London, England.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

House of Commons of Great Britain historic British lower house of Parliament

The House of Commons of Great Britain was the lower house of the Parliament of Great Britain between 1707 and 1801. In 1707, as a result of the Acts of Union of that year, it replaced the House of Commons of England and the third estate of the Parliament of Scotland, as one of the most significant changes brought about by the Union of the kingdoms of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Canada

House of Commons of Canada Lower house of the Canadian Parliament

The House of Commons of Canada is the lower chamber of the bicameral Parliament of Canada, along with the sovereign and the Senate of Canada. The House of Commons currently meets in a temporary Commons chamber in the West Block of the parliament buildings on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, while the Centre Block, which houses the traditional Commons chamber, undergoes a ten-year renovation.

Parliament Hill site of the Canadian Parliament buildings, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Parliament Hill, colloquially known as The Hill, is an area of Crown land on the southern banks of the Ottawa River in downtown Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Its Gothic revival suite of buildings is the home of the Parliament of Canada and has architectural elements of national symbolic importance. Parliament Hill attracts approximately 3 million visitors each year. Law enforcement on Parliament Hill and in the parliamentary precinct is the responsibility of the Parliamentary Protective Service (PPS).

Ottawa Federal capital city in Ontario, Canada

Ottawa is the capital city of Canada. It stands on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of southern Ontario. Ottawa borders Gatineau, Quebec; the two form the core of the Ottawa–Gatineau census metropolitan area (CMA) and the National Capital Region (NCR). As of 2016, Ottawa had a city population of 934,243 and a metropolitan population of 1,323,783 making it the fourth-largest city and the fifth-largest CMA in Canada. In June 2019, the City of Ottawa estimated it had surpassed a population of 1 million.

United States

South Korea

See also

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References

  1. "Current Party Standings".
  2. A. F. Pollard, The Evolution of Parliament (Longmans, 1920), 107–08.
  3. "The Struggle for Democracy: Getting the vote – Voting rights before 1832". UK National Archives. Retrieved 8 May 2019.