Introduction to the HOC
The TSR Commons is a democratically elected chamber (forum on TSR) and is made up of 50 MP's selected by their Parties and Party leaders. Seats are allocated following a TSR-wide 'General Election' which takes place every six months and is conducted around the principle of political Parties (and some Independent candidates).
The largest party or coalition of parties forms the TSR Government, formed of a Prime Minister and number of cabinet positions, whose responsibly it is to answer questions on their specific departments, report to the House and develop legislation within the government. The second largest party or coalition of parties is Opposition, which can have a number of shadow cabinet positions. Other parties may assign Spokesperson positions. The makeup of the current Parliament can be found here.
The Speaker is responsible for everything surrounding the House of Commons and has a question thread here where anyone can get advice or have queries answered.
The first thing that you must do, is join a political Party. Follow this link, or go to User CP -> Group Memberships. (If you get no response from the Group leader within 7 days then PM the Speaker). You can find out more information about the TSR parties here. Independents are a feature of the TSR Commons, but their only access route is gaining the required share of the Vote in a TSR General Election, which are held every six months. Results of past elections can be seen here.
Once you have joined a Party, you will automatically gain access to the Party's own forum (otherwise hidden) and you should talk to other Party members and discuss issues with them. You should also contact your leader for information on how you can get involved in the Parties operations. It is through parties that most members become MP's.
Due to past occurrences within the Commons, Party Leaders have the right to suspicious as to your authenticity, hence don't become offended if they question you on this nature. It is sometimes recommend that Party Leaders request an IP check from the forum's Administrative team for any prospective party members who arouse your suspicion.
MP's are the only people who are allowed to vote on bills, amendments, votes of no confidence, motions and other select special elections. They can also submit bills without seconders. Whilst anyone is allowed to debate a bill, MP's are expected to regularly engage in debate and maintain an active presence in the House. MP's who repeatedly miss votes or are otherwise inactive may be disciplined. There are two routes to becoming an MP. The first, easier way is to join a party as above, and then work up to becoming an MP. Some parties have their MP's selected by the leadership, others are elected by the membership and an active positive contribution is helpful for people wishing to become MP's. The second, harder way is to stand as an independent in a TSR General Election and receive a big enough share of the vote to gain a seat.
Life cycle of a bill
Normally, bills are developed in the private party sub-forums (which is why joining a party is the best way to get involved), formatted according to style laid out here and sent sent to the Speaker by the Party Leader for debate. MP's are also able to submit Private Bills to the Speaker, as well as non-MP's when seconded by an MP.
The Speaker will post the date the bill is due for discussion in the Hansard (our record of all bills) and on the date, the bill will be posted in the main forum for debate by everyone on TSR. Debate on bills during its first reading can range from 2 days minimum to 6 days maximum. During this period, the authors of the bill can prepare amendments behind the scenes and present a newer version of the bill to the House.
If changes have been made to a bill since its first reading, the new version is normally sent to the Speaker and put up for a Second Reading, where again, all members are able to discuss and debate the bill. This time, the debate can range between 1 and 4 days. A bill can be sent to a third reading as well, with a 3 day maximum discussion time.
After the minimum reading time at any reading stage, a bill can be sent to vote. The Speaker posts the final copy of the bill in the Division Lobby forum and adds a poll. Only MP's may vote on bills. Voting lasts for 4 days. If a bill receives more Aye than No votes, it passes into TSR Law and will be added to the record of passed bills.
Amendments make changes to the House of Commons Constitution or Guidance Document, which governs the rules of this forum and is the base for this guide. Amendments may be submitted by an MP, but require 4 other MP's to second it before it can be officially put for discussion by the Speaker.
Motions are statements that are debated by the House and then voted upon. They do not change law, but are a useful tool in gauging the House's opinion on particular subject. Like bills, they can be submitted by a party, an MP or a non MP when seconded by an MP.
The guide above doesn't make up the full rules of the HoC. These can be found in the House of Commons Constitution and Guidance Document. In situations where neither specify a course of action, it is for the Speaker to decide, using precedent and experience as a guide.