If someone is an MP it means that they are a Member of Parliament. An MP is an ordinary person who has decided that they want to become a politician and help to run the country by working in Parliament.
Their job is to represent the people who live in a certain area (called a constituency). MPs help run the country by working in Parliament.
Most people can decide to try and become an MP if they want to. They can join a political party or decide to be an independent politician.
Most MPs belong to a political party. A political party is a group of people who have similar ideas and wishes. Anyone can join a political party and they can let people in the party know they want to become an MP.
The other members of that political party will decide which person they want to be their candidate. A candidate is someone who stands for election to be an MP.
Not all people who want to be an MP have to belong to a political party. People who do not belong to a political party are called independent.
MPs are chosen by ordinary people during a By-Election or General Election.
A By-Election happens if an MP dies or leaves their job. The people in the area that the MP used to work in will then get to choose a new person to represent them in Parliament.
A General Election is when people across the whole country get to vote for their MPs.
Everyone who can vote chooses the person, or candidate, they want to be their MP, and then they vote for them on that day.
The candidate with the most votes becomes the MP for that constituency, or area.
In this country there is a General Election to elect a new government every 5 years.
A General Election can happen sooner if the Prime Minister wants one and lots of MPs agree.
Read more about elections here.
What do MPs do?
When a person becomes an MP, they start work as a representative in Parliament for everyone who lives in their area. This includes the people who voted for someone else, or who did not vote at all.
All MPs work in the Palace of Westminster, which is in London. This is where Parliament is based.
They also work in the area they represent, called their constituency.
At Westminster they get together in the House of Commons. This is where they ask questions, make speeches and vote on policy.
MPs get paid to represent the people in their area. There is no job description for MPs, although there is a Code of Conduct, which is like rules, and this tells MPs how they should behave.
MPs can help you in different ways. They can ask questions about things that may affect you and they can talk about them in Parliament.
Sometimes they work in groups or on committees, which are set up to find out about important things and make recommendations to Parliament.
You have the right to contact your MP to discuss things that affect you.
Your MP must have public contact details so that you and other people who live in their area can get in touch with them.
Your MP could help you by finding out more about your concern, or talking about it in the House of Commons to get the attention of the newspapers and the public.
An MP will not always be able to help someone in their constituency. They have a lot of people in their area and a lot of responsibilities.
Find out more
You can find out who your MP is and how to contact them by going to www.theyworkforyou.com.
You can ask to meet your MP to tell them about issues that affect you.
You can write to them or email them about things that are important to you.
You can write to your MP at:
House of Commons
You can find out about the decisions that your MP is making on issues important to you, by going to www.parliament.uk.
Most MPs will also have their own websites where you can find out more about the issues that they are campaigning on. The website will also include local contact details for the MP.
Your MP may also be on Facebook or Twitter. Following them on social media networking sites such as these will also help you to find out more about what they do.
You can ask for tickets so you can sit in the public gallery at the House of Commons to find out how decisions are made.
You could ask your MP to give their support to a campaign you are involved in.
It is up to them if they agree to support you or not.