Legislature I
Monarchy and the House of Lords
in British politics today
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Parliament is the name of the British legislature and it comprises three elements: the monarch, the Lords and the Commons. This chapter deals with the role of the monarch and the House of Lords. The monarch's power to dissolve Parliament and to appoint a Prime Minister constitute anything but marginal activities. The monarch also has 'the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, the right to warn'. The monarch has always been a key element of the aristocracy, the apex of its power and source of the patronage so eagerly consumed by actual as well as aspirant members ever since the notion of kingship in England emerged. The Lords grew out of the Anglo-Saxon Witenagemot and the Norman Curia Regis, being gatherings summoned to advise the King. But as the shift to democracy occurred during the nineteenth century, the Lords further receded in importance.

British politics today

The essentials

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