Government vs Parliament


Government and Parliament are two different things that often get confused with each other. To understand the difference, you first should look at Parliament:


Parliament is made up of three areas: The House of Commons, The House of Lords, and The Monarch.

The House of Commons consists of Members of Parliament (MPs) who you vote for at General Elections. The House of Lords is made up of people chosen by The Monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister and are usually appointed based on significant life achievements and experience. The Monarch, who has very little actual political power, is the Head of State.

Parliament’s two main jobs are to make and pass laws (Legislate) and to keep an eye on what the Government is doing (Scrutiny).

Legislating is where the areas of Government and Parliament overlap. Most new laws presented to Parliament are suggested by the government, but to pass a new law both Houses must agree to it. Scrutiny of Government comes in many forms, such as: Select Committees, Minsters and Prime Minister’s Question Time, Debates in the House of Commons and House of Lords, Requesting information from Government departments, and from The Opposition Parties.


Government comes from within Parliament. It is made up of the Political Party with the majority of MPs in the House of Commons.

Headed by the Prime Minister, the Government is in charge of how the country is run. They manage how much Tax we pay, where and how that Tax is spent, the running of our public services. Also, the UK Government officially represents the country when talking to other countries in the world.

Because the Government has the majority of seats in Parliament, they mostly have the power to set and pass laws.

However, it is not certain that Government legislation will pass as sometimes MPs from the Government Party ‘rebel’ and vote against Government proposed law, stopping it from passing. The Government are not the only people that can propose legislation, it can be proposed from any Member of Parliament whether in the Government Party or not.

To conclude…

Basically, the Government is elected to power by having the most MPs after a General Election and manages the country in a number of ways, and is formed within Parliament. Parliament keeps Government accountable to the electorate and is the machine that makes and passes laws.

The Legislative Process

Legislative Process (Source:

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[i] [ii] [iii] [iv] Editorial, “If Presidents faced Question Time”, 2008, [v] The Committee

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