How Parliament Works

Ref: C2341906

Placing the Westminster Parliament at the centre, the course will explore the UKs unwritten constitution and explain how the different institutions relate to each other and to the people. We will take a look at the various roles that MPs take on in relation to their constituents, government, opposition and Parliament itself. This will include an examination of the various stages of statute law-making. We will also discuss how to be effective if you want to influence policy and compare that to typical lobbying activity. Finally, we will take a look at how the parliamentary parties work including the whips offices and usual channels and find out more about the role of parliament and parliamentarians in relation to government.

Course aim

Beyond the rituals and the theatre of Westminster, this course will give a working knowledge of parliamentary procedure, how Parliament works in relation to government and how people can have an influence on what happens.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Describe the different roles undertaken by Members of Parliament.
  • Describe how Parliament works in relation to Government.
  • List the main stages of the passage of a Parliamentary Bill.
  • Choose effective methods of action when seeking to influence policy and political decisions

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas will be used to provide resources or to support lessons, enable assessment, provide learner feedback and for other activities for individuals away from the course. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit:

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • Suggestions for background reading/exploration: How Parliament Works by Robert Rogers and Rhodri Walters, Parliament and the law (The Open University); How to be an MP by Paul Flynn (Biteback Publishing)

What can I do next?

Download full course information sheet

How Parliament Works

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course has been cancelled.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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