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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
27th November 2014
Today’s Smith Commission report will have a huge impact on the democratic landscape of the UK. It gives Scotland a whole range of new powers, as well as paving the way for a real improvement to Scottish democracy: votes at 16 for Holyrood elections.   But it also raises fundamental questions about the future shape of the United […]
21st November 2014
After Clacton, comes Rochester and Strood. At the start of the campaign, the Conservatives felt they stood a good chance of winning this second by-election caused by a Conservative MP defecting to UKIP.   In comparison to Clacton, it should have been a much easier ride. Clacton is the most demographically friendly seat to UKIP […]
17th November 2014
Turnout has been in the news once again, with a report from the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee advocating bank holidays on election days, votes at 16 and other structural changes to increase turnout. Structural and institutional changes are, of course, a vital component of making it easier and more desirable to vote. Yet, voting […]