The British Houses of Parliament, based in the Palace of Westminster, are among the best-known symbols of democratic government in the world. Complaints about Parliament are nothing new, and this leads some commentators to take refuge in the thought that the problem lies in unrealistic expectations among pundits or the public, rather than in the institution itself. The party which wins a majority of the 650 seats in the House of Commons in a general election becomes the government. The government can also shape the news agenda to its own advantage by choosing the best moment to publicise its concrete achievements, and by the same token, it can, and often does, ‘bury bad news’ by releasing politically damaging or embarrassing information when the media’s attention is focused elsewhere. The Speaker plays a vital role in seeking to maintain order in the House of Commons, especially during debates and question time.