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Government in Britain

2006-07-14 00:21

  National government

  The center of government in Britain is PARLIAMENT(国会), which makes all the important laws for the country about crimes and punishment, taxation(犯罪), etc. Parliament is made up of the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the monarch(贵族)。 The Houses of Parliament are in Westminster in London and sometimes “Westminster” itself is used to mean Parliament.

  The House of commons (or the Commons) is the lower but more powerful of the two Houses. It has 650 elected members, called Members of Parliament or MPs, each representing people in a particular area or constituency. The House of Lords (the Lords) is the higher but less powerful of the two Houses. It has over 1,000 members, none of whom is elected. These members include: people who have titles like Lord or Viscount(子爵) which have been passed down to them on the death of their father (hereditary peers(世袭贵族)); people who are given titles as a reward for their long service in public life, but whose children do not INHERIT(继承) their title (life peers); and some important leaders of the Church of England (Archbishops(大主教) and Bishops(主教))。

  The government brings BILL (=suggested laws) to the House of Commons, which are discussed by MPs. The bills then go to the House of Lords to be discussed. The House of Lords can suggest changes to a bill, but does not have the power to reject it (=refuse permission for it to be passed)。 When bills come back to the Commons, MPs vote on them and if they are passed they are signed by the monarch and become Acts of Parliament

  At present England, Scotland, Wales, and N Ireland are all governed by Parliament in Westminster. In N Ireland the political parties are different but their MPs still go to the House of Commons. In Scotland there is a lot of discussion about whether Scotland should have some separate or partly separate form of government. The same is true in Wales

  Local government

  Local government is Britain, also known as Councils, can make small laws (bylaws) which only apply in their area, but these are usually about small, local matters. For instance, they may be about fines that will be made for people who park in certain streets.

  Councils are paid for by local taxes and also by an amount of money given to them each year by the national government. Their main job is the organizing and providing of local services, e.g. hospitals, school, libraries, public transport, street-cleaning, etc. They are also responsible for setting the amount of local tax that people must pay and for collecting this tax.

  Local councils(议会) are elected by people within each town, city, or country area. The people who are elected, known as councilors, usually represent one of the national political parties, but are often elected because of their policies on local issues(问题) rather than the national policies of their party.

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