United Kingdom Government and Politics

The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy: Elizabeth II is the head of state of the country and of the British Crown, as well as of the other fifteen countries of the Commonwealth of Nations, putting the United Kingdom in a personal union with those nations. The Crown has sovereignty over the Crown Dependencies, the Isle of Man, and the Bailiwick of Jersey and Guernsey. These are not part of the United Kingdom, although the British government manages its foreign relations and defense, and Parliament has the authority to legislate on its behalf.

The UK has an unencoded constitution [6] , as only two other countries in the world do. The UK constitution, therefore, consists primarily of a collection of different written sources, including statutes, jurisprudence and international treaties. As there is no technical difference between the ordinary statutes and the “constitutional law”, the parliament can carry out a “constitutional reform”, simply by passing a law, and consequently, it has the power to change or suppress almost any element written or unwritten of the constitution. However, no legislature can pass laws that cannot be changed in the future [7] .

According to Youremailverifier, the United Kingdom has a parliamentary government, based on the Westminster system, which has been emulated around the world, a legacy of the British Empire. The UK Parliament, which meets in the Palace of Westminster, has two houses: the House of Commons (elected by the people) and the House of Lords. Any law passed by parliament requires royal consent to become law. The fact that the decentralized parliament in Scotland and the assemblies in Northern Ireland and Wales are not sovereign bodies and can be abolished by the British parliament, makes the latter the most important legislative body in the country.

The post of Prime Minister, Head of Government of the United Kingdom [8] , is occupied by the member of parliament who can obtain the majority of votes in the House of Commons, usually the leader of the political party with the most seats in that chamber. The prime minister and the cabinet are appointed by the king to form the “government of His Majesty”, although the prime minister elects the Council of Ministers, and by convention, the king respects his choice. Traditionally, the cabinet is made up of members of the same party as the Prime Minister from both legislative houses, mostly from the House of Commons. The executive power is exercised by the prime minister and the cabinet, who take their oath before the king, to form part of the Privy Council, in such a way that they become Ministers of the Crown. In the 2010 elections, the leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron [9] [10] , ended the sixteen-year term of Labor and assumed the role of Prime Minister.

Previously, for House of Commons elections, the UK was divided into 646 constituencies, with 529 in England, 18 in Northern Ireland, 59 in Scotland and 40 in Wales; this number increased to 650 in the general elections of 2010. Each electoral district elects a member of parliament by simple plurality. General elections are called by the monarch. Although there is no minimum term to hold a seat in parliament, the Parliament Act of 1911 requires that a new election must be called within five years after the previous elections.

The three main political parties are the Conservative Party, the Labor Party and the Liberal Democrats, which in the 2010 general election won 620 of the 650 available seats in the House of Commons. For the elections to the European Parliament, the UK currently has 72 MEPs elected by block vote. Doubts about the true sovereignty of each constituent nation arose after the UK’s accession to the European Union.

The country does not have a single legal system, as it was created by the political union of the previously independent countries and Article 19 of the Union Treaty guarantees the separate existence of the Scottish legal system. Today, the country has three different legal systems: the law of England, the law of Northern Ireland, and Scottish law. In October 2009, recent constitutional changes resulted in the creation of a new Supreme Court to take over the appellate functions of the Appellate Commission of the House of Lords. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is the highest court of appeal for a number of independent Commonwealth countries, the Overseas Territories and British Crown Dependencies.

United Kingdom Government and Politics

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