Parliament is where politicians(MPs) meet to decide laws and make decisions for the UnitedKingdom. It is not the same as the Government (which runs the country). One of the jobs Parliament does is to check that the Government is running the country properly.
The main functions of Parliament are: to pass laws to provide, by voting for taxation,the means of carrying on the work of government to scrutinise government policy and administration, including proposals for expenditureto debate the major issues of the dayParliament is made up of three parts:
The House of Lords is made up of people who have inherited family titles and those who have been given titles because of theiroutstanding work in one field or another.
The House of Commons has659 members who have been elected by local residents to represent an area of the country in Parliament. The members are called MPs (Members of Parliament).
The House of Lords and theHouse of Commons meet in the Houses of Parliament, located next to the River Thames in London.
The Parliament and Government mean two different things. Parliament represents the peopleGovernment runs the country and is also elected by the people.
The leader of the Government is the Prime Minister. The new Prime Minister chooses a team of people from Parliamentwho will run the country with him. There are normally about 100 people in a UK government. The Government is also differentfrom the rest of the party who won the election.
At present, the Prime Minister is David Cameron, who is the leader of the Conservative Party and Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats is his deputy. The Prime Minister is the head of the UK Government The Prime Minister heads the Government and appoints Ministers, who head individual Government departments.
Although the Queen is no longer responsible for governing the country, she carries out a great many important tasks on behalf of the nation.See also our Calendar of Royal Duties
As Head of State, the Queen goes on official State visits abroad. She also invites other world leaders to come to the United Kingdom. During their visit, Heads of State usually stay at Buckingham Palace, or sometimes at Windsor Castle or Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.
The Queen is also the Head of the Armed Forces. She is the only person who can declare when the country is at war and when war is over,although she must take advice from her government first.