he UK public elects Members of Parliament (MPs) to represent their interests and concerns in the House of Commons. MPs are involved in considering and proposing new laws, and can use their position to ask government ministers questions about current issues.
MPs split their time between working in Parliament itself, working in the constituency that elected them and working for their political party. Some MPs from the governing party (or parties) become government ministers with specific responsibilities in certain areas, such as Health or Defence.
When Parliament is sitting (meeting), MPs generally spend their time working in the House of Commons. This can include raising issues affecting their constituents, attending debates and voting on new laws. Most MPs are also members of committees, which look at issues in detail, from government policy and new laws, to wider topics like human rights.
Working in their constituency – In their constituency, MPs often hold a ‘surgery’ in their office, where local people can come along to discuss any matters that concern them. MPs also attend functions, visit schools and businesses and generally try to meet as many people as possible. This gives MPs further insight and context into issues they may discuss when they return to Westminster.
The UK is divided into 650 areas called constituencies. During an election everyone eligible to cast a vote in a constituency selects one candidate to be their MP. The candidate who gets the most votes becomes the MP for that area until the next election.
> Visit the Inside Parliament homepage
> Download the free Inside Parliament podcast
> Click to find out more from the Parliament’s Education Service
All Illustrations – © Fun Kids. Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament.
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