Holyrood and Westminster - who does what?

This page explains the different roles of the Scottish Parliament and the UK Parliament.

   Scottish Parliament  UK Parliament
Where?  Scotland








Northern Ireland

How many chambers? One chamber Two chambers (House of Commons and House of Lords)
How many members? 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs)


650 Members of Parliament (MPs) in the House of Commons


790 Members of the House of Lords, collectively known as peers

How many members represent Scotland? 129 MSPs representing you on devolved matters


59 MPs representing you on reserved matters


(Peers work for the whole of the UK)

Who does it scrutinise? The Scottish Government and its agencies The UK Government
How are members elected?


73 constituency MSPs are elected by the first-past-the-post-system


56 regional MSPs are elected by proportional representation



MPs are elected using the first-past-the-post-system


Peers are not currently elected, but are appointed by Her Majesty The Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister

When are elections?


Under the Scottish Parliament Elections (Dates) Act 2016, the next Scottish Parliament elections are scheduled to take place on 6 May 2021


Elections are every 5 years

The next UK Parliament election is scheduled for May 2022



So how does it work?

  Scottish Parliament             UK Parliament
Devolved or reserved? Devolved matters Reserved matters. The UK can make laws on devolved matters but it generally doesn't
Who proposes laws?


The Scottish Government


Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs)


Committees of the Scottish Parliament


Private companies individuals or groups


The UK Government


Members of the House of Commons (MPs)


Members of the House of Lords


Private companies

Who examines the laws?


The Scottish Parliament


Committees of the Scottish Parliament



The House of Commons


The House of Lords



Who has the final say? MSPs




Members of the House of Lords

Who implements the laws? The Scottish Government The UK Government

Legislative consent


What is legislative consent?

Did you know?


You can watch MSPs and MPs live on Scottish Parliament and UK Parliament TV 

Each individual in Scotland is normally represented by eight MSPs (seven regional and one constituency) and one MP.

MSPs can also be MPs. This is known as holding a dual mandate.

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UK Parliament

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