86

Parliament has already voted on Article 50 and Article 50 has already been invoked. If nothing else happens between now and March 29th, EU membership ends for the UK. That was the case whether this vote took place or not. So that's the simplest answer with what is known to factually and legally be in place at this time. Anything else borders on wild ...


70

The Parliament doesn't have a single opinion. It probably has 650 different opinions (perhaps more!). Individual members may be hoping to achieve different things by an extension: Strong remainers, such as Jo Swinson, are hoping that the UK will eventually have to retract its article 50 request, and remain in the EU. Requesting another extension is the ...


63

The New Statesman sums it up fairly succinctly Sinn Féin is an Irish republican political party active in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Its central aim is for a united Ireland. It opposes Westminster’s jurisdiction in Northern Ireland, and its oath to the Queen, so its MPs abstain from sitting in parliament. In order to sit and vote ...


61

Because the Fixed Term Parliaments Act law says so: if the motion is passed on a division, the number of members who vote in favour of the motion is a number equal to or greater than two thirds of the number of seats in the House (including vacant seats). It's not about who votes and who doesn't, it's a legal requirement that there is a minimum threshold ...


59

Subcommittees The real work isn't done in plenary session. It isn't even done in the subcommittees. It is done preparing for the subcommittees. One of the key tasks of most parliaments is to decide on taxes and a budget. That's thousands of pages, which should be understood line by line by someone. But nobody can understand the details of the science budget, ...


58

A single MP can't block a law from being passed; however, he can block a law being passed without debate. The Bill is a Private Members Bill, and there is always very limited time available to debate them, so although formally Bills that are objected to are put on the list to be debated later, in practice that rarely happens (except for a few at the top of ...


58

Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) is in theory no different from the usual departmental ministers' questions, with the key difference being that instead of the questions being known ahead of time, a "loophole" is used to allow Members of Parliament (MPs) to ask unscreened questions. You may have noticed that at the beginning of the PMQs an MP will stand up ...


53

One is an expected form of power transfer, the other is not. In a parliamentary democracy, each representative has a mandate from their constituents, and only in aggregate can they form a government. If that government can't command a majority in the parliament, they basically can't govern, but someone else might be able to. Depending on the exact ...


53

The intention behind any parliamentary structure is to provide accurate representation of the citizenry as a whole. The general (historical) implementation is to divide the nation up into districts, wards, parishes, or the like, and allow each district to have a voice in the parliament. It is assumed that districts — if they are well-designed, and ...


51

Very good question and I am surprised that I as German needed to dig deeper into the stuff than anticipated. I tried to consult the German Wikipedia and the normal Google results, but got essentially nothing at first. I suppose it was self-evident schoolboy knowledge at their time and they did not bother to remark the function for following generations. ...


49

That is because there is a likelihood that the opposition party will gain power should the government be defeated in the confidence vote. According to the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, the government has 14 days to try to form a new government or an early election will have to be called. The new government formed will also be subjected to a confidence ...


48

No. I suggest the best source for this is probably the ruling of the Supreme Court itself. I'd encourage you to read it in full - it's not long and surprisingly readable. The legal argument the Court made starts by establishing that courts have the right to limit the use of the Royal Prerogative (for example, see paragraph 32). It further establishes ...


47

In the UK, two fingers is an insult much like the middle finger in the USA. Done in a palm-out orientation it is the victory sign, as done by Winston Churchill. The other way around, palm inwards (knuckles out) it is just like the middle finger.


46

TL;DR It is what is known as an Open Question. By using such a a vague question as the opening strike the asker is then able to follow up with a Supplementary Question, unknown to the Prime Minister, about any aspect of her/his political business leaving the Prime Minister open to an unprepared response. The question is not asked once, but asked by every MP ...


46

Doesn't this effectively end Johnson's short stint as Prime Minister? Only if he loses, which is not a foregone conclusion. And even then, he doesn't leave office until a replacement is ready to enter: if it's a hung parliament, he would keep the office during coalition negotiations unless he chose to resign it. Note that until recently (the Fixed Term ...


44

The planned size of the Bundestag is 598 members: One directly elected member from each of the 299 electoral districts plus equally many members chosen from party lists in order to achieve a total allocation of seats that is proportional to the party votes (Zweitstimmen). As a simplified example, assume that party X got 10% of the party votes and that their ...


43

From Parliament's website. Four tellers are required for a division to take place: two representing those voting for the motion and two representing those voting against. Two tellers - one from each side - are present in each division lobby to ensure a fair count. The result is then reported back to the occupant of the Chair, or the Woolsack, in the Chamber....


42

Without contradicting the already existing answers(specially about making each party position and reasons known to the public), I would point that: Not all parliaments are bipartisan. Different parties can align differently for different laws. Even parties within a coalition government can vote separately on some issues1. As dsollen comments, in some ...


41

In the UK constitutional system, the Queen is not above the judiciary—she is the judiciary. As Wikipedia notes: The sovereign is deemed the "fount of justice"; although the sovereign does not personally rule in judicial cases, judicial functions are performed in his or her name. For instance, prosecutions are brought on the monarch's behalf, and courts ...


40

If you follow the evening votes on any live stream, you'll notice that Bercow has the voting lobbies locked 8 minutes after putting the question. Here's an excellent outline of how the UK parliament's division vote process works: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Division_of_the_assembly#United_Kingdom In the House of Commons, the Speaker says "The ...


40

Probably not. Article 10 of the Treaty of the European Union states that: Member States are represented in the European Council by their Heads of State or Government It follows, therefore, that any notification made to the European Council must come from either the relevant country's Head of State or Head of Government. In the case of the United ...


39

Those are MPs who presumably can't find space to be seated on the (government in this case, since I recognise Iain Duncan Smith and Jeremy Hunt) benches. Over the years the number of constituencies in the UK has grown to 650, but the Victorian era Palace of Westminster debating chamber only has seating space for something like four hundred. In most cases ...


39

A parliament with a dozen or so members is a cabinet. You're effectively deleting the parliament completely and going with a government that consists of a single body: the cabinet, without any checks and balances introduced by parliamentary oversight. It also (as mentioned already) removes any idea of influence over policy making that less populated regions ...


37

No, it does not. Under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act, 2018, the UK will still leave the EU on 29 March at 23:00 GMT. Only a further Act of Parliament to amend it will change this, and as of this writing, there is currently no Bill active in the Commons to do this.


37

Not yet. Because Sinn Fein hold 7 seats, but they refuse to take their seats in the House of Commons. By tradition, the Speaker of the house doesn't vote.So in practice there are 642 votes in the Commons. That means that 322 votes are needed for a working majority in practice, which the government still has (with the DUP's support). At the time of writing ...


36

It is when two members from opposite parties agree not to vote when the other is absent. pairing is an informal arrangement between the government and opposition parties whereby a member of a Legislative body agrees or is designated by the party whip to be absent from the chamber or abstain from voting while a member of the other party needs to be absent ...


33

Impeachment is a prosecution process; it only applies for gross misconduct, and the threshold for its success is really high. The PM can retire with only moderate shame after losing a vote of no confidence, but an president who is impeached and convicted ought to go to jail. A vote of no confidence, on the other hand, simply indicates that the government is ...


32

The mace is a symbol of the Queen's Authority. Its presence in the House of Commons signifies that the House has the Queen's authority to pass laws, etc. It is not unknown for an MP to make some kind of protest by grabbing it, but they always seem to look a bit foolish as a result, and it never accomplishes anything except for a bit of light-relief in the ...


32

The United Kingdom has 3 legal jurisdictions: England and Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. Citizens are entitled to bring cases in their own jurisdiction, or any other by mutual agreement (particularly for civil cases). In fact, independent cases are being heard in all 3 jurisdictions. There is a single UK-wide Supreme Court which acts as the final ...


31

There is no line of succession. Indeed there has been no deputy Prime Minister since 2015. The appointment of a Prime Minister is done by The Crown (ie the government, perhaps the outgoing government) and, by convention. the Prime Minister is the most senior member of the majority party (or coalition) in the house of commons. The person of the Monarch has ...


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