Member of Parliament (United Kingdom)

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In the United Kingdom, a Member of Parliament (MP) is an individual elected to serve in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. [1]

Contents

Electoral system

All 650 members of the UK Parliament are elected using the first-past-the-post voting system in single member constituencies across the whole of the United Kingdom, where each constituency has its own single representative. [2] [3]

Elections

All MP positions become simultaneously vacant for elections held on a five-year cycle. The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 sets out that ordinary general elections are held on the first Thursday in May, every five years. [4] However, with approval from Parliament, both the 2017 and 2019 general elections were held earlier than the schedule set by the Act.

If a vacancy arises at another time, due to death or resignation, then a constituency vacancy may be filled by a by-election. Under the Representation of the People Act 1981 any MP sentenced to over a year in jail automatically vacates their seat. For certain types of lesser acts of wrongdoing the Recall of MPs Act 2015 mandates that a recall petition is opened; if signed by more than 10% of registered voters within the constituency the seat is vacated. [5]

Eligibility

To be eligible to stand as an MP a person must be at least 18 years old and be a citizen of the UK, a Commonwealth nation, or Ireland. A person is not required to be registered to vote, nor are there any restrictions regarding where a candidate is resident. [6] [7]

The House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975 outlaws the holders of various positions from being MPs. These include civil servants, police officers, members of the armed forces, and judges. Members of the House of Lords are not permitted to hold Commons seats. Members of legislatures outside of the Commonwealth are excluded, [6] with the exemption of the Irish legislature. [7]

People who are bankrupt cannot stand to be MPs. [6] The Representation of the People Act 1981 excludes persons who are currently serving a prison sentence of a year or more.

Title

MPs are entitled to be known Honourable (Hon.) Name MP, those who members of the Privy Council use the form The Right Honourable (The Rt Hon. or Rt Hon.) Name MP. [8]

Responsibilities

The first duty of a member of Parliament is to do what he thinks in his faithful and disinterested judgement is right and necessary for the honour and safety of Great Britain. His second duty is to his constituents, of whom he is the representative but not the delegate. Burke's famous declaration on this subject is well known. It is only in the third place that his duty to party organization or programme takes rank. All these three loyalties should be observed, but there is no doubt of the order in which they stand under any healthy manifestation of democracy.

Winston Churchill, Duties of a Member of Parliament (c.1954–1955) [9]

Theoretically, contemporary MPs are considered to have two duties, or three if they belong to a political party. Their primary responsibility is to act in the national interest. They must also act in the interests of their constituents where this does not override their primary responsibility. Finally, if they belong to a political party, they may act in the interests of that party, subordinate to the other two responsibilities. [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]

See also

Related Research Articles

Parliament of the United Kingdom Supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom

The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the UK Parliament, British Parliament or Westminster Parliament, as well as domestically simply as Parliament or Westminster, is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is bicameral but has three parts, consisting of the Sovereign (Queen-in-Parliament), the House of Lords, and the House of Commons. The two houses meet in the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, one of the inner boroughs of the capital city, London.

Politics of the United Kingdom Political system of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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Over the history of the House of Commons, the number of Members of Parliament (MPs) has varied for assorted reasons, with increases in recent years due to increases in the population of the United Kingdom. There are currently 650 constituencies, each sending one MP to the House of Commons, corresponding to approximately one for every 92,000 people, or one for every 68,000 parliamentary electors.

Armagh or County Armagh was a parliamentary constituency in the House of Commons. It was replaced in boundary changes in 1983.

County Waterford (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1918-1922

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Government of Ireland Act 1920 (Parliamentary and Dáil constituencies) United Kingdom legislation

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References

  1. "What MPs do". UK Parliament. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  2. "Voting Systems in the UK" . Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  3. "Parliamentary Constituencies" . Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  4. "Fixed-term Parlliaments Act 2011". UK Legislation. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  5. "Recall of MPs Act 2015". Parliament.uk. Parliament.uk. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  6. 1 2 3 "UK Parliamentary general election, Guidance for candidates and agents, Part 1 of 6 – Can you stand for election?" (PDF). Electoral Commission.
  7. 1 2 "UK Parliamentary general election – Northern Ireland, Guidance for candidates and agents, Part 1 of 6 – Can you stand for election?" (PDF). Electoral Commission.
  8. https://www.debretts.com/expertise/forms-of-address/professions/politics/
  9. "House of Commons – Modernisation of the House of Commons – First Report". publications.parliament.uk.
  10. "Fixing Brexit: How parliament's checks and balances can solve our political crisis". The Independent. 1 March 2019.
  11. Gauja, Anika (22 April 2016). "Political Parties and Elections: Legislating for Representative Democracy". Routledge via Google Books.
  12. Commons, Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of (20 June 2007). "Revitalising the Chamber: the role of the back bench Member, first report of session 2006–07, report, together with formal minutes, oral and written evidence". The Stationery Office via Google Books.
  13. Dimock, Susan (16 September 2016). "Classic Readings and Cases in the Philosophy of Law". Routledge via Google Books.
  14. Deacon, Michael (3 February 2017). "Why Churchill would have defended our 'enemies of democracy'" via www.telegraph.co.uk.