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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
18th December 2014
The traditional political parties are in big trouble. Back in the 1950s, one person in every ten was a member of a political party. Now, there are more people who identify their religion as ‘Jedi’ than there are members of the Conservative party, and almost the same number of Labour members.   The era of […]
16th December 2014
Today the Government presented a shopping list of solutions to the so-called West Lothian or English Question. The fact it is a shopping list demonstrates that even within the coalition they cannot agree on which solution is best.   But that’s not surprising – the chances of cross-party agreement on such a partisan issue are never going […]
12th December 2014
We were really pleased to join forces with Unlock Democracy yesterday and hand in our petition to the Prime Minister calling for a Constitutional Convention. It was signed by over 15,000 people, as well as a wide range of academics and civil society organisations.   The petition, which comes in advance of the Government’s expected […]