Parliamentary FAQ

The UK government

The UK government

The UK government is a Parliamentary democracy and is overseen by members of Parliament that are elected in open elections by the general population.

What follows are a number of commonly frequently asked questions about the basics of MPs and the workings of Parliament.

How Many Members?

650 members of Parliament were elected during the last general election held in 2010. Parliament is represented by 503 men and 147 women from some 13 different recognized political parties.

How and When is the Speaker of the House of Commons Elected?

The Speaker is elected by the members of Parliament on the first day of meeting after the general election.

Who is the Current Speaker of the House of Commons?

Rt Hon John Bercow MP is the current Speaker of the House of Commons and was elected in 2010.

What and Whom is the Father of the House?

The member of Parliament with the longest running tenure is the Father of the House. At the time of this writing, the current Father of the House is Rt Hon Sir Peter Tapsell.

Can I Watch Parliamentary Proceedings?

Yes, the public is welcome to watch the proceedings of Parliament during the designated time period and are also welcome to watch debates at Westminster Hall. The proceedings are open to the public during normal business hours during the work week and on the weekends when Saturday sessions are held.

How Many Pieces of Legislation Were Passed Last year?

During the 2012-2013 parliamentary term, 28 public bills were passed by members of Parliament. This includes 10 private bills introduced by individual members of Parliament.

Does Parliament Manage the Budget?

Yes, managing the national budget is one of the biggest and most important tasks members of Parliament undertake each year. This is where funding for all functions of government are hashed out and funds are allocated for.

Who Manages Budget Discussions?

The Chairman of Ways and Means is the overseer of budget debates and talks.