Elections - An MP's life

11 important questions on Elections - An MP's life

The average modern MP spends more/less time at work than any other professional in the country.


What used to be the situation for the MPs?

They were not supposed to be specialist politicians, but ordinary people who gave some of their time to keep an eye on government, representing the people, and bring their experience of the everyday world into Parliament with them. That's why they were not paid until the 20th century, they were supposed to be doing the public a service. Therefore, only rich people could afford being an MP.

What is Question Time in Parliament?

It is the best attended and noisiest part of the parliamentary day and it is the moment when MP's can ask the ministers questions. Those questions have to be 'tabled' (written down and placed on the table below the Speaker's chair) two day's in advance so the minister can prepare the answer. But the MP is allowed to ask an unexpected supplementary question. Question time forces government to make certain facts public and to make intentions clear. It is often covered by the media.(TV)
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What is an MPs life like nowadays?

These days, MPs are full-time politicians. This means that it's a very busy job that leaves little time for pursuing another career. They can debate all night without a break. In the mornings, they have to prepare speeches and deal with the problems of their constituencies.

When the Commons sits, they have a structure which is followed. What are the 5 stages?

  1. Prayers (1 minute)
  2. Question time (one hour)
  3. Miscellaneous business (up to 45 minutes)
  4. Main business
  5. Adjournment debate (half an hour)

Describe a day in the House of Commons.

Prayers (1 minute); Question Time (one hour); Missellaneous business (statement from a minister, up to 45 min.); Main business (six and a half hours);  Adjournment debate (different matters can be brought up, half an hour)

What are 'private members' bills?

They are new laws introduced by individual MP's. Most of these do not become laws, because there is not enough interest among other MP's and not enough time for proper discussion of them.

What is a division in the Commons?

It is a vote for or against a proposal. Members voting for a proposition walk through one of two corridors at the side of the House called the 'Aye Division Lobby'  behind the government benches and members voting against a proposition walk through to the other corridor, called the 'No division lobby' behind the opposition benches. (in the House of Lords these two rooms are called respectively:  'contents' and 'not contents'.

What is a frontbencher?

It is someone sitting in the front benches on either side of the House. It's where the leading members of the government and opposite them the leading members of the opposition sit.

What is a backbencher?

It is an MP who belongs neither to the govenment, nor to the opposition. They sit in the benches furthest away from the Speaker in the back of the room, hence: 'Backbencher'.

what is an MP's life like?

MP's make very long days. In the morning they do research- and committee work and prepare speeches and deal with constituants'problems.After that they get together in the House of Commons for the daily debating, which sometimes caries on through the night. In the old days they used to be powerful and wealthy amateurs who gave some of their time to keep an eye on government and represent the people. Today being an MP is a professional career.

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