Member of Parliament (United Kingdom)

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In the United Kingdom, Member of Parliament (MP) is the title given to individuals elected to serve in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.[1]

Electoral system[edit]

All 650 Members of Parliament are elected using the First-past-the-post voting system in single member constituencies across the whole of the United Kingdom, where each constituency has its own single representative.[2][3]


All MP positions become simultaneously vacant for elections held on a five-year cycle. The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 sets out that ordinary general elections are held on the first Thursday in May, every five years.[4]

If a vacancy arises at another time, due to death or resignation, then a constituency vacancy may be filled by a by-election. Under the Representation of the People Act 1981 any MP sentenced to over a year in jail automatically vacates their seat. For certain types of lesser acts of wrongdoing the Recall of MPs Act 2015 mandates that a recall petition is opened; if signed by more than 10% of registered voters within the constituency the seat is vacated.[5]


An MP who is a member of the Privy Council is entitled to be known as The Right Honourable (The Rt Hon. or Rt Hon.) Name MP, or simply as Name MP if they are not.


The first duty of a member of Parliament is to do what he thinks in his faithful and disinterested judgement is right and necessary for the honour and safety of Great Britain. His second duty is to his constituents, of whom he is the representative but not the delegate. Burke's famous declaration on this subject is well known. It is only in the third place that his duty to party organization or programme takes rank. All these three loyalties should be observed, but there is no doubt of the order in which they stand under any healthy manifestation of democracy.

— Winston Churchill, Duties of a Member of Parliament (c.1954–1955)[6]

Theoretically, contemporary MPs are considered to have two duties, or three if they belong to a political party. Their primary responsibility is to act in the national interest. They must also act in the interests of their constituents where this does not override their primary responsibility. Finally, if they belong to a political party, they may act in the interests of that party, subordinate to the other two responsibilities.[7][8][9][10][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "What MPs do". UK Parliament. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  2. ^ "Voting Systems in the UK". Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Parliamentary Constituencies". Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Fixed-term Parlliaments Act 2011". UK Legislation. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  5. ^ "Recall of MPs Act 2015". Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  6. ^ "House of Commons – Modernisation of the House of Commons – First Report".
  7. ^ "Fixing Brexit: How parliament's checks and balances can solve our political crisis". The Independent. 1 March 2019.
  8. ^ Gauja, Anika (22 April 2016). "Political Parties and Elections: Legislating for Representative Democracy". Routledge – via Google Books.
  9. ^ Commons, Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of (20 June 2007). "Revitalising the Chamber: the role of the back bench Member, first report of session 2006–07, report, together with formal minutes, oral and written evidence". The Stationery Office – via Google Books.
  10. ^ Dimock, Susan (16 September 2016). "Classic Readings and Cases in the Philosophy of Law". Routledge – via Google Books.
  11. ^ Deacon, Michael (3 February 2017). "Why Churchill would have defended our 'enemies of democracy'" – via