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Member of Parliament

A Member of Parliament, also known as an MP is a representative elected by the voters of an electoral district to a parliament; in the Westminster system, specifically to the lower house, or House of Commons.

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British MPs

The British Houses of Parliament are divided into the House of Commons and the House of Lords and it is often assumed that an MP is a member of Commons, but they can be a member of either house. There are 659 members of the House of Commons.

MPs in the House of Commons are elected for a period of five years or until Parliament is dissolved. The members of the House of Lords are appointed by the Queen or King. In actual fact, the selection is done by the British Prime Minister.

There are several special members of Parliament, including the Prime Minister, other government ministers, the Chief Whip[?] of each party, Privy Councilors, and the Speaker of the House.

Members of Parliament are technically forbidden to resign their seats. However, appointment to a "paid office under the Crown" disqualifies an MP from sitting in the Commons, and two nominally paid offices - the Chiltern Hundreds and the Manor of Northstead - exist to allow members to resign from the House.

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Former MPs

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Canadian MPs

In Canada, the term Member of Parliament refers specifically and only to a member of the Canadian House of Commons (q.v.).

See also:



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