Question: Please describe "Parliament." What does this refer to?
Is the name of the great legislative council of Britain representing the three estates of the realm--Clergy, Lords, and Commons. The Clergy are represented in the Upper House by the archbishops and bishops of sees founded prior to 1846, in number 26; the rest of the Upper House comprises the dukes, marquises, earls, viscounts, and barons of the peerage of Great Britain who sit in virtue of their titles, and representatives of the Scotch and Irish peerages elected for life; the total membership is over 550; the House of Lords may initiate any bill not a money bill, it does not deal with financial measures at all except to give its formal assent; it also revises bills passed by the Commons, and may reject these. Of late years this veto has come to be exercised only in cases where it seems likely that the Commons do not retain the confidence of the people, having thus the effect of referring the question for the decision of the constituencies. The Lords constitute the final court of appeal in all legal questions, but in exercising this function only those who hold or have held high judicial office take part. The House of Commons comprises 670 representatives of the people; its members represent counties, divisions of counties, burghs, wards of burghs, and universities, and are elected by owners of land and by occupiers of land or buildings of L10 annual rental who are commoners, males, of age, and not disqualified by unsoundness of mind, conviction for crime, or receipt of parochial relief. The Commons initiates most of the legislation, deals with bills already initiated and passed by the Lords, inquires into all matters of public concern, discusses and determines imperial questions, and exercises the sole right to vote supplies of money. To become law bills must pass the successive stages of first and second reading, committee, and third reading in both Houses, and receive the assent of the sovereign, which has not been refused for nearly two centuries.
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