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British House of Commons

House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
56th UK Parliament
Coat of arms or logo
John Bercow MP
Since 22 June 2009
David Lidington MP,
Since 14 July 2016
Valerie Vaz MP,
Since 6 October 2016
Seats 650
House of Commons current.svg
Political groups
HM Government
     Conservative Party (330)
HM Most Loyal Opposition
     Labour Party (229)
Other opposition parties
     Speaker (1)
Length of term
up to 5 years
Last election
7 May 2015
Next election
On or before 7 May 2020
Redistricting Boundary Commissions
Meeting place
House of Commons Chamber 1.png
House of Commons chamber
Palace of Westminster
City of Westminster
United Kingdom

The House of Commons of the United Kingdom is the lower house of the country's parliament. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Officially, the full name of the house is: The Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.

The House is an elected body consisting of 650 members known as Members of Parliament (MPs). Members are elected to represent constituencies by first-past-the-post and hold their seats until Parliament is dissolved.

A House of Commons of England evolved in the 13th and 14th centuries, became the House of Commons of Great Britain after the political union with Scotland in 1707, and assumed its current title after the political union with Ireland at the start of the 19th century. The "United Kingdom" referred to was the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1800, and became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland after the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922.

Under the Parliament Act 1911, the Lords' power to reject legislation was reduced to a delaying power. The Government is primarily responsible to the House of Commons and the prime minister stays in office only as long as he or she retains the support of a majority of its members.

Affiliation Members
After the 2015 general election Current
Conservative 330 330
Labour 232 230
SNP 56 54
Liberal Democrat 8 9
DUP 8 8
  Independent 1 4
Sinn Féin 4 4
Plaid Cymru 3 3
SDLP 3 3
UUP 2 2
Green 1 1
  Speaker 1 1
UKIP 1 1
Total number of seats 650 650
Actual government majority 16 16

HM Government
     Conservative Party (330)
HM Most Loyal Opposition
     Labour Party (229)
Other opposition parties
     Speaker (1)
  • See here for a full list of changes during the fifty-sixth Parliament.
  • In addition to the parties listed in the table above, the Co-operative Party is also represented in the House of Commons by Labour MPs sitting with the Labour Co-operative designation. The number of these MPs was twenty-four after the general election, and is currently twenty-six.
  • The actual government majority is calculated as Conservative MPs less all other parties. This calculation excludes the Speaker, Deputy Speakers (two Labour and one Conservative) and Sinn Féin (who follow a policy of abstentionism).
  • Farnborough, T. E. May, 1st Baron. (1896). Constitutional History of England since the Accession of George the Third, 11th ed. London: Longmans, Green and Co.
  • Mackenzie, K.R., "The English Parliament", (1950) Pelican Books.
  • "Parliament" (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th ed. London: Cambridge University Press.
  • Pollard, Albert F. (1926). The Evolution of Parliament, 2nd ed. London: Longmans, Green and Co.
  • Porritt, Edward, and Annie G. Porritt. (1903). The Unreformed House of Commons: Parliamentary Representation before 1832. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Raphael, D. D., Donald Limon, and W. R. McKay. (2004). Erskine May: Parliamentary Practice, 23rd ed. London: Butterworths Tolley.


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