Parliament

Introduction

Parliament, legislative assembly of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Over the centuries it has become more than a legislative body; it is the sovereign power of Great Britain, whereas the monarch remains sovereign in name only. Parliament consists, technically, of the monarch, the House of Commons, and the House of Lords, but the word in common usage refers to the members of the two houses or, more specifically to Commons alone. The great power of the House of Commons lies, historically, in its control of government finances. The powers of the House of Lords have been negligible since 1911. Parliament is housed in Westminster Palace.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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