The parliament is bicameral, with an upper house, the House of Lords, and a lower house, the House of Commons. The Queen is the third component of the legislature. The House of Lords includes two different types of members: the Lords Spiritual (the senior bishops of the Church of England) and the Lords Temporal (members of the Peerage) whose members are not elected by the population at large, but are appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister. Prior to the opening of the Supreme Court in October 2009 the House of Lords also performed a judicial role through the Law Lords.
House of Commons
The UK public elects 650 Members of Parliament (MPs) to represent their interests and concerns in the House of Commons. MPs consider and propose new laws, and can scrutinize government policies by asking ministers questions about current issues either in the Commons Chamber or in Committees.
The Constitution of the United Kingdom is the set of laws and principles under which the United Kingdom is governed.
Britain is almost alone among modern states in that it does not have a constitution at all. There are rules, regulations, principles and procedures for the running of the country, all the things that political scientists and legal experts study and which are known collectively as the constitution. But there is no single written document which can be appealed to as the highest law of the land and the final arbiter in any matter of dispute. Nobody can refer to article 6 or the first amendment or anything like that, because nothing like that exists.
Instead, the principles and procedures by which the country is governed and from which people’s rights are derived come from a number of different sources. They have been built up, bit by bit, over the centuries. Some of them are written down in laws agreed by Parliament, some of them have been spoken and then written down and some of them have never been...