At breakfast club this morning I talked about “lobbying” and a “hung parliament”.
The noun “Lobby” is the room or place in a house where you enter and wait. It is also the name of the area in the House of Commons which is where the elected UK government officials (“members of parliament” or “MP’s” for short) work. If you want to talk to your MP you are allowed to go to the lobby of the House of Commons and fill in a green card, asking him or her to come to see you in the lobby. They must either come to see you or write to you within 10 days. This is where the verb “to lobby” comes from. If you approach somebody who can make a difference (e.g. an MP) and state your views, normally asking for help you are “lobbying”. It is illegal for MP’s to accept lobbying in exchange for money but recently some naughty MP’s accepted money and will probably not be voted for in the next election.
There is going to be an general election on 6th May in the UK. It looks like no single party will have a majority and, if this happens, we call it a “hung parliament”. The word “hang” or “hung” means “suspended in the air” so what we are saying is that parliament is “floating” as there is not one party that can make decisions without involving other members of parliament. When an election is this close, MP’s and voters’ attentions starts to go towards smaller parties like the Greens. This is because if there is a vote on a law for example, each of the major parties will need the support of other smaller parties to win the vote. Many people at the moment wish that the phrase “hung parliament” meant literally “hanging all the MP’s” as there have been so many scandals recently where MP’s have been very corrupt and undemocratic. Unfortunately (or fortunately for them !) it does not mean this.
Breakfast club is every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning in EC London’s café. IT is free and starts at 08:30 so you can spend about 25 minutes with a native speaker (normally a teacher) talking about the news . It is a great way to start your day, practising some English and maybe enjoying one of Luca’s lovely coffees at the same time !