Saturday, May 8

Intermediate English: British Government & Politics

This week's Intermediate English lesson is about British Government and Politics.

Task 1

Read the text below about the British system of government, and then scroll down the page to answer some questions.


Parliament is the seat of the UK government.

The main functions of Parliament are to pass laws, to finance through taxation the work of government, to scrutinise government policy and administration, including proposals for expenditure, and to debate the major issues of the day.

General Elections

In a general election, every area in the country votes for one Member of Parliament (MP) to represent them in the House of Commons. There are 650 geographical areas, called constituencies. To be eligible to vote in a general election you must be registered to vote and aged 18 or over.

Each eligible voter has one vote in their local constituency, and the candidate with the most votes becomes the MP for that area. This voting system is called 'first past the post'. Usually the political party with the most MPs then forms the government – though if there is no overall winner, a hung parliament may result. Two or more parties with a combined majority of MPs may form a coalition government.

There has to be a general election at least every five years. The Prime Minister decides when to call an election. The last general election was held on 6 May 2010.

If an MP dies or resigns between elections, there is a by-election in their constituency.

Task 2

Scan the text above to find the answers to these questions.


1) How many parliamentary constituencies are there in the UK?

2) How often are general elections usually held in the UK?

3) What type of voting system does the UK currently have?

4) How old do you have to be to vote in a UK election?

5) Which party usually forms the government after a UK general election?

6) What is a "hung parliament"?

7) What does the acronym MP stand for?

8) What is a by-election, and when do by-elections usually take place?

Click on the link below to do amultiple choice quiz and check your answers:

General Elections in the UK - Multiple Choice Reading Quiz >>

Task 3

Click on the link below to do a gap fill exercise based on the reading text for Task 1.

UK General Elections - Grammar Gap Fill Activity >>

Task 4

Click on the link below for an interactive word search to practise the vocabulary used in this lesson.

General Elections in The UK - Online Word Search Puzzle >>

Task 5

Click on the link below for an online crossword puzzle on UK government & politics & elections.

British Government and Politics - Interactive Crossword Puzzle >>

Related Activities:

Life in the UK - Online Activities for English Learners >>

image: Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
text credit: DirectGov, © Crown Copyright - Reproduced with permission, under licence