House of Commons

How do Bills become law?

This video discusses the means through which bills, policy and general legislation become law in the UK.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • Bills must pass through both Houses.
  • There are different procedures for both Houses.
  • Yet once a bill has been approved by both Houses, it then gains Royal Assent and becomes law.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The systems of checks that Parliament emplaces to ensure accountability.
  • The procedures to scrutinise bills in Parliament.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Lord Norton
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What internal scrutiny is there of Parliamentarians?

This video discusses the several ways in which parliamentarians are scrutinised from within Parliament itself.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The presence of a Parliamentary Committee for Scrutiny.
  • The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.
  • The Freedom of Information Legislation.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The means for governmental scrutiny and accountability.
  • The specific mechanisms within Parliament that fulfil this role.
Credits

With thanks to

  • John Mann MP
  • Baron Lisvane (Robert Rogers)

Image – House of Commons (UK Parliament-Catherine Bebbington)

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How does Parliament ensure it’s work is transparent?

This video delves into the various ways and means through which Parliament is transparent to the British Public.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • Parliament is fully televised, as well as having public galleries, which both allow the public access to Parliament.
  • The media and journalists are allowed to interview MP’s and ministers.
  • Everything that is said in both Houses and in Committees is recorded verbatim.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • Parliamentary oversight, accountability, and transparency; and the mechanisms for the latter.
  • The Checks and Balances system in the UK.
Credits

With thanks to

  • John Mann MP
  • Keith Vaz MP
  • Baroness Stowell
  • Baroness Boothroyd

Image – Members Entrance (UK Parliament-Jessica Taylor)

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How can individual Parliamentarians influence legislation?

This video discusses the effect that individual members of the House of Lords and Commons can influence legislation and its discourse.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The House of Lords, where any individual can recommend amendments that must be debated.
  • The House of Commons, where small committees fulfil this same function.
  • The Whips in either house who slightly mitigate this factor, yet can still bolster it.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • Legislation and the influence individuals in both Houses have on it.
  • The Whipping system and its subsequent effect.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Baroness Smith

Image – Corbyn Budget 2016 (UK Parliament-Jessica Taylor)

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How does Parliament hold Government to account? 

This video summarises the different mechanisms in the UK parliamentary system which ensures governmental accountability.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • Parliament as a check against government through debate and scrutiny.
  • Party Opposition which allows for greater scrutiny of the government.
  • The House of Lords, which further scrutinises legislation through expertise.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The checks and balances in the UK political system.
  • The means for assuring governmental accountability via Parliament.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Keith Vaz MP
  • Natascha Engel MP
  • Baroness D’Souza, Lords Speaker
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What are the strengths and weaknesses of the UK’s parliamentary system?

This video discusses the strength and weakness of Parliament for both the House of Commons, and the House of Lords; particularly, the fact that the strengths and weaknesses largely depend on the MPs who comprise both houses.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The weaknesses of the House of Commons – MPs being spread thin from much work – and the benefits that this weakness can actually foster.
  • The strength of Parliaments willingness to change.
  • The strength garnerd from the adversarial nature of Parliament.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The strengths that the UK parliamentary system brings.
  • The weaknesses the system brings.
  • How these two characteristics often demonstrate different sides of the same coin; that is to have the strengths we must endure the weaknesses.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP
  • Baroness Boothroyd
  • Baron Lisvane
  • Baroness Smith
  • Baroness D’Souza
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What pressures for reform are there?

This video discusses the pressures for change and reform, where they come from, and how Parliament reacts and has historically reacted.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The historical pressures for reform such as women’s suffrage.
  • The contemporary pressures such as representation that mirrors the diversity of the UK.
  • The origins of pressures for reform, both public and governmental.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • Historical reforms.
  • The benefit of reform and pressure for it.
  • How Parliament interacts with such pressure.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP
  • Baroness Boothroyd

Image – Prince’s Chamber Heralds (UK Parliament-Catherine Bebbington)

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Who oversees elections?

This video discusses the electoral commission and the presiding officers that oversee elections and the duties they perform.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The different bodies and individuals that oversee elections.
  • The different duties that are entailed, such as: fair and free elections, proper levels of campaign finance, etc.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The protections and system that ensure fair and free democratic elections in the UK.
  • The different duties necessary to perform this function, and the different mechanisms for those duties depending on whether the election is local or national.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Adam Alfriyie MP
  • Natascha Engel MP

Image – Elizabeth Tower (UK Parliament-Jessica Taylor)

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What is the role of political parties?

This video discusses the importance of political parties within British politics, namely as a driving force for legislation through a framework of principles specific to each party.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The different parties within the UK.
  • The way in which political parties and the political system interact.
  • The necessity for political parties as a way to direct philosophical motivations into legislation.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The importance of political parties.
  • The function that political parties serve for our political system.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Adam Alfriyie MP
  • Madeline Moon MP

Image – House of Commons (UK Parliament-Catherine Bebbington)

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What separation of powers is there?

This short video covers the separation of power within the British governmental system, whereby checks and balances ensure accountable and responsible governance.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The separations of power between the Crown represented by the government de jure, the legislative in the form of Parliament, and the judiciary.
  • The restrictions and necessities born from this separation.
  • The contrast to the American system of checks and balances, whereby the the government cannot be part of the legislature.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The manner in which the powers of government are separated.
  • The individual entities which comprise this system of checks and balances.
  • The key differences between the British and American systems of separation of power.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Baroness Scotland
  • Lord Cormack
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How do the two chambers complement each other? 

This video summarises the relationship between the lower and upper houses of Parliament, and the way they fulfill complimentary duties.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The expertise thatthe House of Lords brings, and its untimed scrutiny.
  • The duties of the House of Commons – such as the duty to legislate on behalf of those MPs represent.
  • The way in which these duties compliment each other.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The undemocratic, yet essential nature of the House of Lords.
  • The fundamental role to Parliament that the House of Commons plays.
  • The way in which these two houses combine to legislate, and make said legislation accountable.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP
  • Baroness Boothroyd
  • Baroness D’Souza, Lords Speaker 2011-2016
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By what mechanism are MPs elected?

This video is a brief summary of the means by which the House of Commons is democratically elected, the franchise involved, and the efforts pertinent to individual MPs and hopeful MPs.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • General Elections.
  • Campaigning that it inherently involved in a democratic process.
  • The structure of 650 constituencies that account for the electorate.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The democratic nature of Parliament.
  • The constituency system
  • The relevance of campaigning.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Adam Alfriyie MP
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Why have two different chambers?

This video covers the contrast between the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and crucially, the benefits that this contrast brings.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The necessity of different chambers for checks and balances.
  • The contrast between the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
  • The different duties and functions specific to each house.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The differences between the two houses.
  • The overall function of Parliament that the individual functions of the houses combine to make.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Lord Tyler
  • Baroness D’Souza, Lords Speaker 2011-2016
  • John Bercow MP, House of Commons Speaker 2009-present.
  • Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP
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What is the role of the House of Commons?

This is a short summary of the important duties and functions of the House of Commons, connected with its wider role in governance.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The function of scrutiny for the House of Commons against the executive.
  • The duty of representation to the constituencies.
  • The power to levy tax on behalf of the government.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The specific role of the House of Commons.
  • The contrast between Parliament and the Government.
Credits

With thanks to

  • John Bercow MP, House of Commons Speaker 2009-present.

Image – House of Commons (UK Parliament-Catherine Bebbington)

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What levels of government exist in the UK?

This video summarises the power balance of Parliament, devolved assemblies and parliament within the United Kingdom, as well as local councils.

Video Information

This video covers:

  • The separation of central and local government.
  • The separation of power from Westminster to the devolved parliaments and assemblies.
  • The manner in which these levels interact.
Information for Teachers

Teachers can use this video as an introductory tool for students, at the start of a lesson, or as a summary at the end.

The video provides a sound summary of main topic areas and covers key points, including:

  • The different levels of governance in the United Kingdom.
  • The power balance between these levels.
  • The shared responsibility to the electorate of all levels of government.
Credits

With thanks to

  • Lord Tyler
  • Madeline Moon MP

Image – George Osbourne, Budget 2016 (UK Parliament-Jessica Taylor)

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