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Unlike the aristocratic and hereditary House of Lords, the House of Commons was composed of Members of Parliament (MPs) elected by and from the commoner population of the Star Kingdom, thus giving the non-aristocratic majority of the Crown's subjects a say in the government. In fact, the Star Kingdom's Constitution specifically forbade Peers of the Realm to stand for election to the Commons, unless they had previously resigned their titles of nobility.
For elections to the Commons, the planets of the Star Kingdom were divided into constituencies known as "boroughs", with one MP representing each borough.
General elections to the House of Commons took place at least once every four Manticoran years, and could only be delayed during times of war. In the event that a Member of Parliament resigned his or her seat before the following general election, a special by-election was called in his or her borough to replace the resigning MP.
While the Prime Minister was required to come from the Lords and command a majority in said House, other members of the Cabinet could come from the Commons, and in general any Prime Minister tried to cultivate a good relationship with the lower house - and through the Commons, with the general population of the Star Kingdom.
The Commons could initiate legislation and veto bills passed by the Lords, but its legislative powers on matters of budget and appropriations were limited under the Star Kingdom's Constitution, as it conferred to the House of Lords exclusive powers of initiation and final approval of finance bills. Conversely, the Commons exerted influence in the House of Lords by the constitutional requirement that any newly-created peerage must be approved by the lower house. Additionally, the revoking of a peerage could only occur with the approval of the Commons.
The House of Lords was the senior branch of the Manticoran Parliament, as the Star Kingdom's Constitution mandated that the Prime Minister must be a member of the House and command a majority of its members to hold the office. In addition, the Lords held the "power of the purse", which meant that they alone could initiate any budget, tax or appropriation bill, as well as approve its final form, which included the power to override any amendments introduced by the Commons. However, with the fall of the High Ridge government, the Grantville government used its majority to introduce a transitional bill that over the course of 5 T-years would transfer its "power of the purse" to the Commons.
- ↑ A special by-election could not be avoided, even in time of war.