Parliament's role

The main functions of the UK Parliament are to:

  • Check and challenge the work of the Government (scrutiny)
  • Make and change laws (legislation)
  • Debate the important issues of the day (debating) 
  • Check and approve Government spending (budget/taxes)

Parliament is made up of three central elements: the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the Monarchy. The main business of Parliament takes place in the two Houses. Generally the decisions made in one House have to be approved by the other.

Checking the work of Government

One of Parliament's main roles is to examine and challenge the work of the government through questioning ministers, debating and committee work

Making laws

For new legislation to become law, or for changes to existing laws to be made, the House of Commons and House of Lords must both debate, amend and vote on the proposals.

Debating

Both Houses of Parliament hold debates in which Members discuss government policy, proposed new laws and topical issues of the day

Check and approve Government spending and taxation

The Budget is presented to the House of Commons by the Chancellor of the Exchequer each year. MPs debate the proposals and scrutinise the Finance Bill which brings them into law.

Parliamentary sovereignty

Parliamentary sovereignty is a principle of the UK constitution. It makes Parliament the supreme legal authority in the UK, which can create or end any law.

Relations with other institutions

Parliament is an essential part of UK politics and interacts on a daily basis with a number of important institutions

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Parliament's Education Service

School visit to Parliament

Access free teaching resources, find out about school visits to Parliament, book teacher training opportunities or request a visit from our Outreach team.

Living heritage

An insight into the political, social and cultural roles Parliament has played in the development of British society. Explore Parliament's history and its continuing significance in our lives today.