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The Legislature: Parliament
Общие сведения о съемке местности и составлении топографических карт и планов
Общие сведения о съемочных геодезических сетях
Parliament comprises three parts: the Crown, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons. Parliament originated in the great councils called by the Crown during the Middle Ages. Through these meetings, medieval monarchs sought the advice of their subjects, exchanged information about the realm, and gathered petitions. Later, Parliament served to supplement royal revenues by making grants of taxation – that is, by granting the monarch’s request for extra subsidies to pay for wars. By the end of the 13th century representatives from the counties, called knights of the shire, and representatives of the towns, called burgesses, were also being summoned to attend regularly. The knights and the burgesses eventually came to sit separately from the nobles and church leaders, in what eventually became the House of Commons. The nobles and church leaders sat in what came to be called the House of Lords. By the end of the Middle Ages Parliament had taken on a form that would be recognised today.
The Crown lost power. In the 20th century the House of Commons successfully struggled to curtail the power of the House of Lords. Today the House of Lords can only delay legislation. For the past 280 years the monarch's royal assent to legislation has been given automatically. The House of Lords has the power to introduce bills, offer amendments to bills passed by the House of Commons, to delay legislation and bills for up to about a year. Although this house has relatively little power, many Britons would like to either abolish it completely or replace it with some form of elected second chamber.
The House of Commons is the source of real political power in the United Kingdom. Its members are democratically elected by universal suffrage of citizens over the age of 18. Certain groups that are denied the right to vote, however, include members of the House of Lords, some detained mental health patients, sentenced prisoners, and those convicted of corrupt or illegal election practices in the previous five years.
Each MP represents approximately 60,000 people. Following the 1997 election, there were 659 constituencies in the United Kingdom: 529 in England, 72 in Scotland, 40 in Wales, and 18 in Northern Ireland. A session of Parliament lasts for five years unless the prime minister dissolves Parliament, and then a general election is held for all the seats in the House of Commons. Debates in the House of Commons can be quite lively.
Each bill is given three separate readings in each house. In the first reading, the bill is presented without debate. After the bill is read a second time, the house debates the bill’s general principles. The bill then goes to a committee for thorough study, discussion, and amendment. At the third reading, the bill is presented to the house in its final form and a vote is taken. If the bill is passed on the third reading, it is sent to the other house, where it goes through the same procedure. If passed by the second house, the bill is sent to the monarch for the ceremonial formality of royal assent before becoming law. If amended by either house, the amendments must be resolved by both houses before the bill is sent to the monarch. A bill originating in the House of Lords can be tabled and not considered in the Commons, but a bill originating in the Commons will become law, even without the approval of the House of Lords, if it passes Commons again in the following year’s session.
The Speaker of the House of Lords is the Lord Chancellor. The special seat on which the LC sits in the British Parliament is called the woolsack. (набитая шерстью красная подушка, на которой сидит лорд-канцлер. Обычай сохранился с 14 века, когда шерсть была важнейшей статьёй английского экспорта). For a very long time the members of the House of Lords were not elected but had their positions because of their rank or title of honour. It consisted of nearly 1,200 non-elected members: over 550 hereditary peers, Bishops (высшая степень священства в англиканской церкви - епископ) and the leaders of the Church of England – they are called the Lords Spiritual (духовные лорды (архиепископы Кентерберийский и Йоркский и 24 епископа, члены палаты лордов) and over500 life peers (лицо получившее Титу за заслуги перед народом, но не имеющее право передавать членство в палате лордов по наследству). There are also Law Lords (altogether 30) who sit as the highest Court of Appeal. In October 1999 Labour, Liberal Democrats and crossbench peers united to back the bill to expel hereditary peers. A vote was taken (in favour of the bill). As a result, the right of the hereditary peers to sit in the House was abolished.