The UK Parliament is one of the oldest and most influential parliaments in the world. It has been the centre of British democracy since 1265 when the first Parliament met in the city of Westminster. This makes it the longest continuously running government in the world. Over the centuries, it has developed many traditions and has a rich and fascinating history. Here are the Top 10 Facts about the UK Parliament:
1. The Houses of Parliament are in London.
The Houses of Parliament lie on the north bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in central London, England.
2. The Houses of Parliament are split into the House of Lords and House of Commons.
Parliament is split into the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Members of Parliament, known as MPs, are in the Commons. Unelected Lords, sometimes called peers, sit in the House of Lords.
3. There are 650 MPs in Parliament.
There are 650 Members of Parliament and 760 Lords. MPs include the Prime Minister and those elected by our votes during a general election.
4. Members of the House of Lords are appointed by the Monarch.
Members of the House of Lords are appointed by the King on the advice of the prime minister.
5. You can tell if you’re in the House of Commons or the House of Lords by the Colour of the seats.
In the House of Commons the seats are green but in the House of Lords they are red.
See if you can tell which house they are in on the news by the colour of the seats!
6. The Houses of Parliament were hit by bombs 14 times during the Blitz.
Significant reconstruction had to take place after the end of World War II.
Countries from all over the Commonwealth donated materials for The House of Commons to be rebuilt.
This includes the Speaker’s chair (donated by Australia) as well as a silver gilt inkstand from Dominica, the North Entrance doors to the chamber are from India and the Table of the House from Canada.
7. The Houses of Parliament used to have another name.
The Houses of Parliament were once known as the Palace of Westminster after it was built during the 11th century as a royal palace.
8. You’re not allowed to wear a suit of armour into parliament.
It’s against the law to wear armour in parliament. The law is set out in the Statute Forbidding Bearing of Armour or Coming Armed to Parliament Act 1313 and was enacted to deal with the then noblemen’s causing trouble and fighting in parliament.
9. The Houses of Parliament are owned by King Charles.
Because the Houses of Parliament used to be a Royal Palace, they technically belong to the reigning monarch. This means they are owned by King Charles III.
10. Big Ben is part of the Houses of Parliament.
One of the most important parts of the Houses of Parliament is its large clock, known as Big Ben. The clock is located in the Elizabeth Click Tower.
Take a look Inside Parliament!
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