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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 March 2015
Yesterday the views of Brits were unveiled to the world. And in some ways, they make for some startling reading.   The British Social Attitudes Survey – a renowned national study of voters’ opinions – was released on Thursday. It covers all sorts of issues on what citizens think. But a few things stood out for […]
24th March 2015
What is the best way for parties to share power? How can you make minority government work? And how do you negotiate a successful coalition?   These are some of the questions likely to be at the forefront of the party leaders’ minds over the next couple of months. As we near a General Election which is […]
23rd March 2015
What many already knew about the Lords has just been confirmed by academics. A new working paper from the University of Oxford’s Department of Economics puts it simply: the “relationship between donations and nominations [for peerages] has been found to be significant”.   The report has caused shockwaves. Entitled “Is There a Market for Peerages?…A Study in the Link Between Party […]