Houses of Parliament

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The Palace of Westminster, portions of which have a 900-year history and is the symbol of 600 years of British democracy.

The Houses of Parliament in London are where the British Parliament meets. It is a bicarmel legisltive body consisting of a lower house, called the House of Commons made up of elected members and an upper house called the House of Lords that historically was made up of hereditary peers and some bishops (Lords Spirtitual), but is now predominantly made up of members who have received a Life Peerage (a non hereditary title) following service in the House of Coomons or through achievement in other fields.

The Houses of Parliament are located in the Palace of Westminster in the heart of London. The building is so named as it is officially a royal palace, although no monarch has set foot in the House of Commons, the lower house, since Charles I attempted to arrest five members in 1642. The building of the Houses of Parliament, a well-known symbol of London, is relatively new, being opened only in 1840. The Commons chamber is even newer, being bombed in 1941 and reconstructed after the Second World War. The clock tower at the northern end of the Palace is often referred to as 'Big Ben', although that name, strictly speaking, applies only to the main bell of the clock in the tower.

The main legislative chamber is the House of Commons where the elected representatives meet. Elected representatives are called Members of Parliament or MPs. MPs sit on green benches. There are two lines facing each other. The Government benches are on one side, and the opposition benches are on the other side.

Houses within Parliament

In British commonwealth nations, Parliament is comprised of two branches, the house of commons, for commoners(elected MPs), and the house of lords, or senate in Canada, appointed by the Prime minister. Legislatures must pass both houses, Commons, and Lords/Senate, before coming into effect. Senate/Lords has the authority to veto moves by the Commons, but needs 2/3 of the senate/commons vote.