The British House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of
the United Kingdom. Parliament also includes the Sovereign and the
upper house, the House of Lords; the House of Commons is the dominant
branch. The House of Commons is a democratically elected body,
consisting of 646 members, who are known as "Members of Parliament"
MPs. Members are elected by the first-past-the-post system of
election, holding office until Parliament is dissolved (a maximum of
five years). Each member is elected by, and represents, an electoral
district known as a constituency. The House of Commons is the source
of the vast majority of government ministers and every Prime Minister
since 1902, with the very brief exception of Sir Alec Douglas-Home in
1963. The House of Commons evolved at some point during the 14th
century and has been in continuous existence since. The House of
Commons was once far less powerful than the House of Lords, but is
by far the dominant branch of Parliament. The House of Commons'
legislative powers exceed those of the House of Lords; under the
Parliament Act 1911, the Lords' power to reject most bills was
to a mere delaying power. Moreover, the Government of the United
Kingdom is answerable to the House of Commons; the Prime Minister
stays in office only as long as he or she retains the support of the
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Harold II of England defeated Harald III of Norway in the Battle of
Stamford Bridge, marking the end of Viking invasions of Great Britain.
Ottoman forces under Bayezid I defeated a Christian alliance led by
Sigismund of Hungary in the Battle of Nicopolis.
Conquistador Vasco Núñez de Balboa, upon a peak in presentday Darién,
Panama, became the first European to see the Pacific Ocean, which he
named Mar del Sur, or South Sea.
The People's Democratic Republic of Algeria was formally proclaimed.
Ferhat Abbas was elected President of the provisional government, with
Ahmed Ben Bella as Prime Minister.
The last Magdalen Asylum in Ireland was closed.
Wikiquote of the day:
"No battle is ever won... They are not even fought. The field only
reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion
of philosophers and fools." -- William Faulkner