UK Parliament

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The building of Parliament in London

The Parliament of the United Kingdom ( English Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; UK Parliament for short ) is a constitutional body of the British monarchy . It consists of two chambers , the House of Commons (lower house) and the House of Lords (upper house). Both meet at the Palace of Westminster in London .

As sovereign, the respective monarch formally forms a third part of parliament. Queen Elizabeth II has played this role since 1952 . Bills are introduced by the Prime Minister- led government in the House of Commons, which votes on them after appropriate debate. Subsequently, these bills have to be approved by the House of Lords before they are put into effect by the Queen. The last step has a purely ceremonial character.


The British Parliament goes back to the English Parliament , whose origins can be traced back to the Anglo-Saxon Witenagemot .

(Engl. The term of the British parliament parliament ) has existed since the Acts of Union 1707 . Here England and Scotland were united to form the Kingdom of Great Britain , with the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh being dissolved. (After Tony Blair's electoral victory in 1997, the Scotland Act 1998 established a new Scottish Parliament with seat in Edinburgh, which deals with Scottish matters under its own jurisdiction.) The British Parliament met for its first session on October 23, 1707. The Irish Parliament was dissolved by the Act of Union 1800 . (The Parliament of Northern Ireland , which existed from 1920 to 1972, and the Northern Ireland Assembly , created in 1998, succeeded the Irish Parliament - limited to Northern Ireland.)

On March 22, 2017, a terrorist attack occurred in the area of ​​Parliament and nearby Westminster Bridge, in which five people were killed and forty people were injured.

Term of office of parliament

Parliament's term of office was set at three years in 1694. It was extended to seven years in the Septennial Act of 1716 and reduced to five in the Parliament Act of 1911. During the Second World War , the term of office was provisionally extended to ten years, but has remained at a maximum of five years since the end of the war. The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 requires general elections to take place on the first Thursday in May, the fifth year after the previous general election.

MPs privileges

The most important privilege for all members of both Houses is freedom of speech during debates ; Statements in the upper house ( House of Lords ) and in the lower house ( House of Commons ) can be brought to trial under any circumstances. Another privilege is the impossibility of arrest , except in cases of high treason, capital crimes (felony) and breach of the peace . This privilege is valid during the session of Parliament and 40 days before and after. The parliamentarians , on the other hand, are no longer exempt from serving as jurors in a jury .

In English parliamentarism, the monarch's ban on peace was also transferred to parliament. Unlike in Germany, this has resulted in an asylum function in the parliament building for criminals, defaulting debtors or individuals who are otherwise threatened by government coercive measures.


  • Dirk Kunze: Parliamentary traditions between modernization and awareness of tradition. Observations on parliamentary culture in London, Singapore and Melbourne. Grin Verlag 2008, ISBN 978-3-640-20551-6 .
  • Dominik Nagl: No Part of the Mother Country, but Distinct Dominions Legal Transfer, State Building and Governance in England, Massachusetts and South Carolina, 1630–1769. LIT, Berlin 2013, pp. 84–93, 173f, ISBN 978-3-643-11817-2 . On-line.

Web links

Commons : Parliament of the United Kingdom  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Parliament's website
  2. ^ The first Parliament of Great Britain ( Memento from April 22, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  3. ^ State of emergency in the government district. In: ORF . March 22, 2017, accessed December 30, 2020 .
  4. Erskine May: Parliamentary Practice. Butterworths, London a. a. 2004, ISBN 0-406-97094-7 , pp. 119, 125.
  5. Hatschek: The Asylum Law of the English Parliament , in: Annals of the German Reich for Legislation, Administration and Economics, 1906, p. 801 ff.
  6. Gerd Michael Köhler: The police force of the President of Parliament in German constitutional law , DVBl 1992, p. 1577.