Advanced Search
House of Commons
The Lower House of the UK Parliament
House of Commons

The House of Commons is the lower house of Parliament, which also comprises the Head of State (the “sovereign”) and the House of Lords; known as the upper house.


In a General Election, the British public elects 650 Members of Parliament (MPs) using the First Past the Post (FPTP) system. MPs are elected by voters in their constituency to represent their interests and concerns in the House of Commons.

MPs consider and propose new laws, and can scrutinise government policies by asking ministers questions about current issues either in the Commons Chamber or in Committees.

Together the prime minister and cabinet form the government, which is answerable to the House of Commons and must retain the support of the House to pass bills and new legislation.


What's the problem?

The House of Commons is the central focus of political life in the UK. It is important to have an elected chamber that broadly represents the views of the nation as a whole. Of all the different electoral systems in use around the world, First Past the Post (FPTP) is one of the least fair and least representative.

Under FPTP, barely a third of elected MPs manage to attract the support of more than half of their constituents. The outcome of the election is decided by a tiny minority of swing voters who are lucky enough to live in the key battleground constituencies (approximately 1.6% of the electorate).

As a result, voter turnout and trust in our politicians is declining. Reform is desperately needed to help re-engage voters in our democracy.


Would you like to help build a better democracy?

There are plenty of ways to get involved in our work either by supporting one of our campaigns or by helping to direct the future of the Electoral Reform Society by becoming a member.
Recent News
18th August 2014
Recent weeks have continued to see all sorts of handwringing and dark soothsaying about the state of representative democracy. Untrusted politicians, growing inequality and low election turnouts are just part of this sorry state.   So what is to be done?   A new report seems to point the way ahead for us here in […]
13th August 2014
Did you vote in the European elections earlier this year? Perhaps not – it turns out that the 2014 ballot had the lowest ever turnout of any European election, at less than 43%.   Shortly before the elections, we published a report giving 12 practical recommendations on how to improve European democracy for British people. […]
8th August 2014
Another 22 peers have been appointed to the House of Lords today. Here are some facts, figures and thoughts about the announcement.   The new peers have donated nearly £7m to political parties. The vast majority of the £6,912,841 comes from one donor, Michael Farmer. But another five of the new peers are also party […]