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In Britain, the three main political parties are the Conservatives, the Socialists and the Liberal Democrats. The Conservatives, also known as the Tories, occupy the right; the Socialists are traditionally associated with the left, but now describe themselves as New Labour to mark their move to the centre ground. The Lib Dems are seen as the stepping stone between the Tory and Labour parties, though they have far fewer Members of Parliament.

Most of the political power belongs to the House of Commons, the elected chamber of the British Parliament. The power of the House of Lords, the second chamber is very limited and the role of the monarch is largely symbolic. General elections must be held within periods of five years, though Prime Ministers can choose the date they consider to give them the best chance of reelection.

Britain is divided into 650 parliamentary constituencies each represented by an elected MP (Member of Parliament). The party which returns the largest number of MPS usually forms the Government, while the party with the second largest number of seats becomes the Opposition. One of the first tasks of a new Prime Minister is to choose the team of ministers which will head important Government departments. These form the Cabinet. The key posts are the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Foreign & Home Secretaries.