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The business of Parliament takes place in two Houses: the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Their work is similar: making laws (legislation), checking the work of the government (scrutiny), and debating current issues. The House of Commons is also responsible for granting money to the government through approving Bills that raise taxes. Generally, the decisions made in one House have to be approved by the other. In this way the two chamber system acts as a check and balance for both Houses.

The Commons
The Commons is publicly elected. The party with the largest number of members in the Commons forms the government.
Members of the Commons (MPs) debate the big political issues of the day and proposals for new laws. It is one of the key places where government ministers, like the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, and the principal figures of the main political parties, work.
The Commons alone is responsible for making decisions on financial Bills, such as proposed new taxes. The Lords can consider these Bills but cannot block or amend them.

The Lords
Members of the House of Lords are mostly appointed by the Queen, a fixed number are elected internally and a limited number of Church of England archbishops and bishops sit in the House.
 The Lords acts as a revising chamber for legislation and its work complements the business of the Commons. The House of Lords is also the highest court in the land: the supreme court of appeal. A group of salaried, full-time judges known as Law Lords carries out this judicial work.

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Current Composition
Labour (352) Conservative (196) Liberal Democrat (63)
Democratic Unionist (9) Scottish National (6) Sinn Fein (5) Social Democratic & Labour Party (3)
Plaid Cymru (3)
Independent (2) Independent Labour (1) Respect (1)


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