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Thursday, 2 December, 1999, 14:13 GMT
Leader of the Commons

Margaret Beckett is leader of the House of Commons
President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons: Margaret Beckett

The leader of the House of Commons is responsible for the arrangement of government business in the Commons and the planning and supervising of the government's legislative programme.

A guide to the UK Government
She also upholds the rights and privileges of the House.

The leader is also president of the Privy Council.

She is supported by parliamentary secretary to the Privy Council Office Paddy Tipping.

The council is comprised of ministers and MPs who advise the Queen.

The House of Commons

The House of Commons is the most important political institution in Britain, scrutinising and approving the majority of legislation within the UK.

But its powers have been reduced by the devolution of legislation to the Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales.

The Commons consists of 659 MPs, although the Conservatives are keen to reduce that number and prevent Scottish MPs voting on purely English matters.

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