Parliamentary committees

It is natural that in both the Commons and the Lords committees should be formed to consider -specific matters or bills passing through Parliament. The Commons have a number of 'standing committees' which examine bills during the procedural stages until they become law. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all represented by permanent standing committees. In addition, standing committees are appointed to consider specific bills. Between 16 and 50 MPs are normally appointed to a standing committee, usually reflecting the balance of party representation in Parliament

In 1979 a new and important 'select committee' system was created to examine and monitor government departments and policies, and the manner in which ministers discharge their responsibilities. One reason for doing this was the difficulty individual MPs had in scrutinizing government activity adequately. Another was the increase in party discipline which made it difficult for MPs to act independently of party policy. Members of the governing party tended to support government policy and action, those of the opposing party tended to criticise it. There had already been one or two select committees forparticular matters, but this was the first time a comprehensive scrutinising of government departments had been attempted.

The select committee system consists of 1 7 individual committees 'shadowing' the expenditure, administration and policy of the main government departments. Each committee has a more or less permanent cross-party membership, all of whom have acquired considerable expertise in their respective fields. They give an opportunity for MPs to act more independently of their party than they are able to do in the debating chamber. During the period of Conservative government in the 1980s, for example, a number of select committees, including their Conservative members, were strongly critical of the government.

This, briefly, is the constitutional and political system of Britain. As will be seen in the following chapter, the system as currently operated gives rise to considerable controversy. Some people are dissatisfied with its fundamental principles, and others with what they believe are the dangers of the way the system actually operates.



  1. The legislature, legislation
  1. Законодательная власть
  1. The executive
  1. Исполнительная власть
  1. The judiciary
  1. Судебная власть верхняя палата парламента
  1. The House of Lords, the Lords, the Lords Chamber, the Upper House
  1. Палата лордов, верхняя палата парламента
  1. The house of Commons, the Commons, the Commons Chamber, the lower House
  1. Палата общин, нижняя палата парламента
  1. Hereditary peers, peers by heredity
  1. потомственные пэры
  1. To inherit a title
  1. унаследовать титул
  1. Created peers
  1. Life peers, to make smb a life peer, to give smb a life peerage
  1. личные пэры
  1. Lords spiritual, Bishops of the Church of England
  1. епископы-члены парламента, епископы Англиканской церкви
  1. Law lords (judges)
  1. судебные лорды ( члены палаты лордов с судебными функциями )
  1. Lords Temporal
  1. светские члены палаты лордов
  1. Lord Chancellor (speaker for the House of Lords)
  1. лорд-канцлер ( глава судебного ведомства и верховный судья Англии, председатель палаты лордов и одного из отделений Верховного суда)
  1. The Woolsack
  1. председатель, канцлер, председательское место лорда-канцлера в палате лордов (набитая шерстью подушка )
  1. The Mace
  1. жезл
  1. The Speaker
  1. спикер
  1. Chief whip
  1. парламентский организатор партии
  1. Black rod
  1. розги
  1. The Sergeant-at-arms
  1. парламентский пристав
  1. Call to order, keep order
  1. призыв к порядку, сохранять порядок
  1. The State opening of Parliament
  1. Session
  1. парламентская сессия
  1. Sitting
23. заседание
  1. Question time
24. «час вопросов» ( время, отведённое в парламенте для вопросов правительству)
  1. Legislative draft, a bill
  2. Bill of Rights
  1. Законопроект
  2. 1) "Билль о правах" ( в Англии )
2) "Билль о правах" первые десять поправок к конституции США (свобода прессы, свобода собраний и т.д. )
  1. To introduce\to bring a bill
  1. предложить законопроект
  1. To debate a bill
  1. Обсудить
  1. To pass a bill
  1. Принять
  1. To defeat a bill (to be defeated on a bill)
  1. Отклонить
  1. Amend a bill
  1. Внести поправки
  1. Reject a bill
  1. забаллотировать
  1. To submit a bill to
  1. представить на рассмотрение
  1. First, second, third reading
  1. первое, второе, третье чтение
  1. "report" stage
  1. стадия доклада; стадия обсуждения
  1. Committee stage
  1. комитетская стадия, стадия рассмотрения законопроекта в комитете
  1. Standing committee
  1. постоянный комитет
  1. To give\receive the Royal Assent
  1. получить королевскую санкцию
( принятого парламентом закона )
  1. To enter into the Statute book
  1. войти в существующее законодательство, свод законов
  1. Aye lobby
  2. No lobby
  3. "division"
  1. to call for a division
  1. лобби, голосующее за ч.-л.
  2. лобби, голосующее против ч.-л.
  3. разделение голосов во время голосования; голосование
  4. предусматривать разделение голосов
  1. The Government
  2. Coalition government
  3. Cabinet
  4. Cabinet ministers
  1. правительство
  2. коалиционное правительство
  3. кабинет, кабинет министров,
  4. группа министров, возглавляющих важнейшие министерства
  1. Inner Cabinet
  2. "shadow cabinet"
  1. кабинет министров в узком составе, «узкий кабинет»
  2. теневой кабинет ( группа «старших министров», «должности» которых соответствуют аналогичным должностям в официальном кабинете министров )
  1. A front-bencher
  1. министры и руководители оппозиций
  1. a back-bencher
  1. рядовой член парламента
  1. a cross-bencher
  2. To form the government
  3. To resign, resignation
  1. беспартийный
  2. формировать правительство
  3. отказ от должности; уход с должности; отставка; уход в отставку или на пенсию
  1. To have a small\big\overall majority in Parliament
  2. To summon, prorogue, dissolve the Parliament
  1. иметь подавляющее большинство мест в парламенте
  2. созвать, назначить перерыв в работе, распустить парламент
  1. On a vote of confidence
  1. вотум доверия
  1. To put\vote on a motion of "no confidence"
  1. выразить вотум недоверия
  1. Common Law
  1. общее право
  1. Acts of Parliament
  1. парламентский акт
  1. Statutes of the realm
  1. законодательный акт, статут парламента
  1. Precedent
  1. прецедент
  1. Convention
  1. собрание, съезд
  1. Constitutional settlement
  1. конституционный договор
  1. The Act of Settlement
  1. закон о престолонаследии в Англии ( 1701)
  1. Sovereign
  1. монарх
  1. The Crown
  1. 1) корона, престол; королевская власть; король, королева
2) государство; верховная власть ( UK ) 3) государственное обвинение(UK)
  1. Coronation
  1. коронация, коронование
  1. To abdicate, abdication
  1. отрекаться ( от царствования, власти, престола ); отказываться ( от права, должности - from )
  1. Order of succession
  2. To succeed to the throne
  3. Hereditary monarch
  1. очерёдность наследования
  2. унаследовать корону
  3. наследственная монархия
  1. The duke of Edinburgh
  2. Prince of Wales
  3. Heir to the throne
  4. Heir presumptive
  5. Royal family
  6. Queen Dowager
  7. Queen
  1. герцог Эдинбургский
  2. принц Уэльский, наследник англ. престола
  3. наследник трона
  4. предполагаемый наследник
  5. Вдовствующая королева
  6. национальный гимн Великобритании
" God save the Queen"
  1. Queen Mother, Queen Mum
  1. королева Елизавета ( мать Елизаветы II, королевы Великобритании с 1952 г.)
  1. queen mother
  1. 1) вдовствующая королева
2) королева-мать
  1. The royal prerogative
  1. королевская прерогатива
  1. Knight,
  1. рыцарь
  1. knighthood
  1. рыцарство, рыцарское звание
  1. to be knighted, to bestow a knighthood onupon
  1. даровать титул рыцаря, посветить в рыцари
  1. To confer titles
  1. Даровать титулы
  1. Privy Council
  1. Тайный совет ( в Великобритании )
  1. Privy purse
  1. хранитель денег на личные расходы короля
  1. Lord Privy Seal
  1. лорд-хранитель малой печати
  1. Civil list
  1. цивильный лист ( сумма на содержание лиц королевской семьи)


Houses of Parliament


The Chamber of the House of Commons


S Mr Speaker

p Press Galleries

H Hansard Reporters

0 Government Officials' Box

(advisors to Ministers)

С Clerks of (he House





T Table of the House

D Despatch Boxes

Ma Mace

L Lines

В Bar of the House

X Cross Benches



SA Sergeant at Arms

M Members' Galleries

G Visitors` Galleries


The Chamber of the House of Lords.

The arrangement of seating in both Houses of Parliament reflects the nature of the party system. Both debating chambers are rectangular in shape, are overlooked by galleries, and have at one end the seat of the Speaker, in front of which stands the Table of the House, and at the other end a technical barrier, known as the 'Bar' (two bronze rods normally kept retracted). The benches for members run the length of the chamber on both sides. Intersected by a gang-way, the benches face each other across a broad area known as the 'floor of the House'. The benches to the right of the Speaker are used by the Government and its supporters; those to the left are occupied by the Opposition, and members of any other parties. In the House of Lords, there are also the bishops' benches and a number of cross-benches for peers who do not wish to attach themselves to any party.

Leaders of the Government and the Opposition sit on the front benches of their respective sides to the Speaker's side of the central dividing aisle with their supporters. The backbenchers, the ordinary members of Parliament, sit behind them, occupying the seats behind the front benches. In the House of Commons, where there is room for only 350 MPs on the benches backbenchers may also sit in the side galleries, which can accommodate a further 90 members. In both Houses the galleries also provide accommodation for visitors, the press and government and parliamentary officials.

Each House has its Leader. The Leader of the House of Commons is the member of the Government primarily responsible for organizing the business of the House, and for providing reasonable facilities for the House to debate matters about which it is concerned. One of the functions of the Leader is to announce the following week's programme to the House. The Leader may also move procedural motions relating to the business of the House. In the absence of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the House of Commons acts as the spokesman of the House on ceremonial and other occasions. The Leader of the House of Lords has similar functions in the Lords and is regarded as the main Government spokesman in the House.

Outside Parliament, party control is exercised by national and local organi­zations. Inside Parliament, and particularly in the House of Commons, it is exercised by officers known as 'Whips'. There are Government and Opposition Whips in both Houses of Parliament, but the Whips in the House of Lords are less exclusively concerned with party matters. On the Government side in the House of Commons the Chief Whip is Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury. There are other Government Whips, including the Deputy Chief Whip and five Assistant Whips.

The Government Chief Whip, who is directly answerable to the Prime Minister and the Leader of the House of Commons, is responsible for settling the details of the Government's programme of business, for estimating the time likely to be required for each item, and for arranging the business of the individual sittings.

Duties which are common to the Whips of all parties include keeping members informed of Forthcoming parliamentary business; ensuring the attendance of members and their party vote; providing lists of members to serve on select and standing committees. The Whips are also responsible for conveying upwards to the party leadership the opinions of their back-bench members. The Government Whips in the House of Lords often act as Government spokesmen in the House.

In the House of Lords, the office of Speaker (the Lord Chancellor) carries with it no authority to control debate. Members of the House of Lords do not address themselves to the Lord Chancellor during debates, but to their fellow members in the House. If, during a debate, two peers rise to their feet at the same time, the House itself determines who shall speak: the Lord Chancellor has no power to decide which peer shall take the floor. In the Commons, on the contrary, the Speaker has full authority to give effect, promptly and decisively, to the rules and orders of the House.

The Speaker of the House of Commons presides over the House of Commons. In debate all speeches are addressed to him, and he calls upon members to speak. If he rises to give a ruling upon a doubtful point, or for any other reason, he must be heard in silence, and while he is on his feet no other MP may remain standing. It is the function of the Speaker to guard against abuse of procedure or any infringement of minority rights; and to allow or disallow a closure motion (to end discussion so that the matter may be put to the vote). He also has certain powers to check irrelevance and repetition, and save time in various other respects. In cases of grave and continuous disorder, he has power to adjourn the-House or suspend the sitting on his own initiative. Voting in the House of Commons is carried out under the direction of the Speaker, whose duty is to pronounce the final result. In the event of a tied vote (when an equal number of votes is cast) the Speaker must give his decisive vote.

A vote is taken by means of a division (that is to say the separation into two lobbies of the members who wish to vote for or against a question). Members voting 'Aye' go out of the chamber into the lobby on the right of the Speaker, while those voting 'No' pass into the lobby on his left. Members' votes are recorded by four

Opposition Party


Government Party


Government Whip


Members Government



Party Opposition

Members Whip "Shadow"Cabinet



Liberals and Independents Vote "Aye" or "No"


Division of the House of Common



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