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The UK Parliament
Parliament is the most important democratic institution in the United Kingdom. It comprises the House of Lords (the upper chamber), the House of Commons (the lower chamber) and the Monarch as its head. The House of Lords and the House of Commons sit separately and are constituted on entirely different principles. The legislative process involves both Houses of Parliament and the Monarch.
The main functions of Parliament are:
- To make laws regulating the life of the community;
- To provide, by voting for taxation, the means of carrying on the work of government;
- To protect the public and safeguard the rights of individuals;
- To scrutinize government policy and administration, including proposals for expenditure;
- To debate the major issues of the day;
- To examine European proposals before they become law.
Parliament has a maximum duration of five years. Each term is divided into sessions, which usually last for one year – normally ending in October or November when Parliament is «prorogued», followed shortly by the State Opening of Parliament.
The State Opening of Parliament marks the start of the new parliamentary session. It is the main ceremonial event of the parliamentary year, attracting large crowds, both in person and watching on television. The Queen delivers her speech from the Throne in the House of Lords. The speech is given in the presence of members of both Houses. Although the speech is made by the Queen, the content of speech is entirely drawn up by the Government and approved by the Cabinet. It contains an outline of the Government’s policies and proposed legislative programme for the new parliamentary session. Following the State Opening, the government’s programme is debated by both Houses.
3. Find in the text the words and expressions which mean the following:
- to include
- the upper House
- to be based on principles
- law-making process
- the term of service
- to discontinue a session of the British Parliament
- to protect the rights
- to examine in much detail
- to write a speech
- to pronounce a speech
- a plan/brief review of the Government’s policies.
4. Make up as many word-combinations as you can using the following words (A, B) and translate them:
5. Say if it is right or wrong. Give a full answer:
1. The House of Lords is the most important democratic institution in the United Kingdom.
2. Parliament comprises the House of Commons and the Senate.
3. The executive process involves both Houses of Parliament and the Monarch.
4. Parliament has a maximum duration of five years.
5. The State Opening of Parliament marks the end of the new parliamentary session.
6. The speech is given in the presence of members only of the House of Lords.
7. The House of Lords and the House of Commons sit together and are constituted on similar principles.
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