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Parliament is an essential part of UK politics. Its main roles are:
The business of Parliament takes place in two Houses: the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
Parliament examines and challenges the work of government.
Parliament is responsible for approving new laws (legislation).
Both Houses of Parliament hold debates in which Members discuss government policy, proposed legislation and current issues.
The origins of Parliament go back to the 13th century, so there are many rules about how it runs.
A number of traditions are involved in the working of Parliament.
Parliament and government both play a part in forming the laws of the United Kingdom.
Along with the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the Crown is an integral part of the institution of Parliament.
UK devolution created a national Parliament in Scotland, a national Assembly in Wales and a national Assembly in Northern Ireland.
The UK is one of 28 member states of the European Union and is subject to European Union (EU) legislation.
Watch our new film about the House of Commons Chamber, what it does and how it works for people across the UK
Learn about the history of Parliament's role
Parliament is developing a series of virtual tours. The first of these is a visit to the House of Commons Chamber and surrounding rooms. This tour uses Flash Player.