Government of the United Kingdom

Her Majesty’s Government , commonly referred to as the UK Government or British Government , is the central government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland . [3] [4]

The government is led by the Prime Minister , who selects all the remaining ministers . The prime minister and the other most senior ministers of the supreme decision-making committee, known as the Cabinet . [4] The government ministers all sit in Parliament , and are accountable to it. The government is dependent on Parliament to make primary legislation , [5] and since the Fixed-terms Parliaments Act 2011 , general elections are Held every five years to elect a new House of Commons , UNLESS there is a successfulvote of no confidence in the government or a two-Thirds Vote for a snap election (as Was the case in 2017 ) in the House of Commons, in box qui year election May be Held Sooner. After an election, the monarch(currently Queen Elizabeth II ) selects the prime minister of the House of Commons, usually by a majority of MPs. [6]

Under the uncodified British constitution , executive authority lies with the monarch, this authority is exercised only by, or on the advice of, the prime minister and the cabinet. [7] The Cabinet members advise the monarch as members of the Privy Council . They also work as Leaders of the Government Departments .

The current prime minister is Theresa May , who took office on 13 July 2016. She is the leader of the Conservative Party , which won a majority of seats in the House of Commons in the general election on May 7, 2015, when David Cameron was the party leader; at the last general election. Prior to this, Cameron and the Conservatives led a coalition from 2010 to 2015 with the Liberal Democrats , in which Cameron was prime minister.

Government in Parliament

A key principle of the British Constitution is that the government is responsible for Parliament. This is called responsible government .

The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy in which the reigning monarch (that is, the King or Queen who is the Head of State at any given time) does not make any open political decisions. All political decisions are taken by the government and Parliament. This constitutional state of affairs is the result of a long history of constraining and reducing the political power of the monarch, beginning with the Magna Carta in 1215.

Parliament is split into two houses: House of Lords and House of Commons. The House of Commons is the most powerful. The House of Lords is the House of Commons and it can vote to amend proposed laws. Although the House of Lords can introduce bills, most important laws are introduced in the House of Commons – and most of those are introduced by the government, which schedules the vast majority of parliamentary time in the Commons. Parliamentary time is essential for bills to be passed into law, because they must pass through a number of readings before becoming law. Prior to introducing a bill, the government may run to a public consultation to solicit feedback from the public and businesses, and may have already introduced and discussed the policy in the Queen’s Speech , or in anelection manifesto or party platform .

Ministers of the Crown are responsible for the House in which they sit; They make statements in which House and take questions from members of that House. For most senior citizens, this is usually the House of Commons rather than the House of Lords. There have been some recent exceptions for this, the cabinet ministers Lord Mandelson (First Secretary of State) and Lord Adonis (Secretary of State for Transport) sat in the Lords and were responsible for that House during the Gordon Brown government .

Since the beginning of Edward VII’s reign in 1901, the prime minister has always been elected member of Parliament (MP) and therefore directly accountable to the House of Commons. A similar convention applies to the Chancellor of the Exchequer . It would likely be politically unacceptable for the Lords, with the Chancellor being unable to directly address the issue, especially now that the Lords have very limited powers in relation to money bills. The last Chancellor of the House of Lords was Lord Denman , who served as interim Chancellor of the Exchequer for one month in 1834. [8]

Under the British system, the government is required by convention and for the purpose of maintaining the confidence of the House of Commons. It requires the support of the House of Commons for the maintenance of supply (by voting through the government’s budgets) and to pass primary legislation . By convention, if a government loses the secret of the House of Commons it must resign or a General Election is held. The support of the Lords, is not vital. A government is not required to resign even if it loses the confidence of the Lords and is defeated in key votes in that House. The House of Commons is thus the Responsible House .

The prime minister is held-to-account During Prime Minister’s Question Time (PMQs) qui Provides an opportunity for MPs from all sides to issue the PM On Any subject. There are also departmental questions when ministers answer questions relating to their specific departmental brief. Unlike PMQs both the Cabinet Ministers for the Department and the Junior Ministers Within the Department may answer the question.

For debates on legislation proposed by the government, ministers-usually with departmental responsibility for the bill -will lead the debate for the government and respond to points made by MPs or Lords.

Committees [9] of Both the House of Commons and House of Lords hold the government to account, scrutinize ict work and examines in detail Proposals for legislation. Ministers appear before committees to give evidence and answer questions.

Government ministers are also required by convention and the Ministerial Code , [10] when Parliament is sitting, to make major statements about government policy or matters of national importance to Parliament. This allows MPs or Lords to question the government on the statement. When the government chooses to make announcements first outside Parliament, it is often the subject of significant criticism from MPs and the Speaker of the House of Commons . [11]

Her Majesty’s Government and the Crown


The monarch takes a little part in governing the country, and remains neutral in political affairs. However, the legal authority of the state is known in the sovereign, known as the Crown , remains the source of the executive power exercised by the government.

In addition to explicit statutory authority , Many areas in the Crown aussi Possesses a body of powers Known as the Royal Prerogative , qui peut être For Many Purposes used, from the end or withdrawal of passports to a declaration of war. By long-standing custom, most of these powers are delegated to the sovereign to different ministers or other officers of the Crown, who can use them without having to obtain the consent of Parliament.

The head of the government, the prime minister , also has weekly meetings with the monarch, when she „has a right and a duty to express her views on Government matters … These meetings, with all communications between The Queen and her Government , „Keep strictly confidential.“ The Queen abides by the advice of her ministers. “ [12]

Royal Prerogative powers include, but are not limited to, the following:

Domestic powers

  • The power to booster (and also, in theory, dismiss) a prime minister . This power is exercised by the monarch herself. By convention, she is more likely to be able to command the secret of a majority in the House of Commons.
  • The power to dismiss and other ministers . This power is exercised by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister.
  • The power to assent to and enact laws by giving [Royal] Assent to Bills Passed by Both Houses of Parliament, qui is required in order for a law to (from a Passed Bill) make it into the Statute Books (ie, to Become a valid law) as an Act [of Parliament]. This is the exercise of the monarch, who also theoretically has the power to refuse assent, although no monarch has refused to pass a bill passed by Parliament since Queen Anne in 1708.
  • The power to give to the commissioned officers in the Armed Forces .
  • The power to command the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom . This power is exercised by the Defense Council in the Queen’s name.
  • The power to make up members to Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council .
  • The power to issue British passports and the general power to provide British Passport. This is exercised (in the United Kingdom, but not necessarily in the case of the Isle of Man , the Channel Islands or the British Overseas Territories ) by the Home Secretary .
  • The Royal Prerogative of mercy has been abolished (pardoning the effect of death penalty), this power is still used under rare circumstance (eg to remedy errors in sentencing calculation).
  • The power to grant (and also to cancel and annul) honors .
  • The power to create corporations by Royal Charter , and also to amend, replace and revoke existing charters.

Foreign powers

  • The power to ratify and make treaties .
  • The power to declare war and conclude peace with other nations.
  • The power to deploy the Armed Forces overseas.
  • The power to recognize states .
  • The power to credit and receive diplomats.

Even though the United Kingdom has no single constitutional document, the government published in October 2003 to increase transparency, as some of the powers exercised in the name of the monarch are part of the Royal Prerogative . [13] HOWEVER, the complete extent of the Royal Prerogative powers HAS never been fully set out, as Many of Them originated in ancient custom and the period of absolute monarchy , gold Were later modified by constitutional practice,

Government departments

Main article: British government departments

Government ministers are supported by 560,000 [14] Civil Servants and other staff working in the 24 Ministerial Departments [15] and their executive agencies . There are also additional 26 non-Ministerial Departments with a range of further responsibilities.


The prime minister is based at 10 Downing Street in Westminster , London. Cabinet meetings also take place here. Most government departments have their headquarters in Whitehall .

Devolved governments

Main article: Devolution in the United Kingdom

Since 1999, certain areas of central government have been devolved to accountable governments in Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland . These are not part of Her Majesty’s Government, and are accountable to their own institutions, with their own authority under the Crown. By contrast, there is no devolved government in England.

Local government

Refurbishment notice at Oxford Fire Station , showing HM Government support.

Main articles: Local government in England , Local government in Scotland , Local government in Wales , and Local government in Northern Ireland

District and Parish Councils exist in all parts of the United Kingdom, in some places under the authority of Unitary Authorities . They have limited local tax-raising powers. Many other authorities and agencies also have jurisdiction over the subject.

Limits of government power

The government ’s powers include general executive and statutory powers, delegated legislation , and numerous powers of appointment and patronage. HOWEVER, some Powerful Officials and bodies, (eg HM judges, local autorités , and the Charity Commissions) are Legally more or less independent of the government, and government powers are Legally Limited To Those Retained by the Crown under common law or Granted and limited by Act of Parliament , and are subject to European Union law and the Competencies That It olefins. Both substantive and procedural limitations are enforceable in the Courts by judicial review .

Nevertheless, magistrates and mayors can still be arrested for and put to trial for corruption, and the government has powers to insert a local authority to oversee its work, and to issue directives that must be obeyed by the local authority, if the local is not abiding by its statutory obligations. [16]

By contrast, as in every other European Union (EU) member state, EU Officials can not be prosecuted for Any action the carried out in pursuit of Their official duties, and foreign country diplomats (though not Their employees) and Foreign Members of the European Parliament [ 17] are immune from prosecution in the UK under any circumstance. As a consequence, neither of them nor diplomats had to pay taxes, since it would not be possible to prosecute them for tax evasion. This Caused a row in recent years When the US Ambassador to the UK Claimed That London’s congestion charge Was a tax, and not a burden (DESPITE the name), and therefore He Did not-have-to-pay it – a claim the Greater London Authority disputed .

Similarly, the monarch is totally immune from criminal prosecution and can only be trusted as sovereign immunity . The monarch, by law, is not required to pay income tax, but Queen Elizabeth II has voluntarily paid it since 1993, and also pays local voluntarily. However, the Sovereign Support Grant , and Queen Elizabeth II’s inheritance from her mother, Queen Elizabeth II , was exempt from inheritance tax .

In addition to legislative powers, HM Government has substantial influence over financial institutions and grants. Numerous factors in the provision of services by local authorities, such as paying out housing benefit and council tax benefit, are funded by central government.

Even though the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is supposed to be independent of the government on a day-to-day basis and is supposed to be politically unbiased, some commentators have argued that the BBC BBC to be subtly biased towards the government of the day (at the future).

Neither the central government nor local authorities are permitted to sue anyone for defamation . Individual politicians are allowed to sue people for defamation in a personal capacity, but this is relatively rare (though George Galloway , who was a backbench MP for a quarter of a century, number of times). However, it is a criminal offense to make a false statement about any election candidate during an election, with the purpose of reducing the number of votes they receive (as with libel, opinions do not count).

See also

  • Departments of the United Kingdom Government
  • Government spending in the United Kingdom
  • British Government frontbench
  • Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition
  • List of British governments
  • Northern Ireland Executive
  • Scottish Government
  • Welsh Government
  • Whole of Government Accounts


  1. Jump up^ „Fifth Committee of the Constitution Committee of the House of Lords, Session 2013-14: Constitutional implications of coalition government,Chapter 2 “ . UK Parliament. February 5, 2014 . Retrieved 10 September2017 .
  2. Jump up^ „First Report of the Select Committee on the Treasury of the House of Commons, Session 1997-98: Accountability of the Bank of England,Paragraphs 7-13 “ . UK Parliament. October 29, 1997 . Retrieved 10 September 2017 .
  3. Jump up^ Her Majesty’s GovernmentRetrieved June 28, 2010
  4. ^ Jump up to:b Overview of the UK system of government: Directgov – Government, and rights citoyens . Archived webpage. Retrieved on 29 August 2014.
  5. Jump up^ „Legislation“ . UK Parliament. 2013 . Retrieved 27 January 2013 .
  6. Jump up^ House of Commons – Justice Committee – Written Evidence. Retrieved on 19 October 2010.
  7. Jump up^ The monarchy: Directgov – Government, citizens and rights. Archived webpage. Retrieved on 29 August 2014.
  8. Jump up^ The Parliament Acts – UK Parliament. (21 April 2010). Retrieved on 12 October 2011.
  9. Jump up^ Committees – UK Parliament. (21 April 2010). Retrieved on 12 October 2011.
  10. Jump up^ Ministerial Code. Cabinet Office 2010
  11. Jump up^ „Speakers‘ statements on ministerial policy announcements made outside the House“ (PDF) . Archived from the original on 16 July 2011 . Retrieved 29 November 2010 . . Parliamentary Information List. Department of Information Services. 16 July 2010
  12. Jump up^ „Queen and Prime Minister“ . The British Monarchy. 2013. Archived fromthe original on 14 April 2010 . Retrieved 27 January 2013 .
  13. Jump up^ Mystery Lifted on Queen’s Powers | Politics. The Guardian. Retrieved on 12 October 2011.
  14. Jump up^ Civil Service Statistics. September 2011
  15. Jump up^ LIST OF MINISTERIAL RESPONSIBILITIES Including Executive Agencies and NonMinisterial Departments. Cabinet Office 2009
  16. Jump up^ „Secretary of State sends in commissioners to Tower Hamlets“ . . December 17, 2014 . Retrieved 10 April 2015 .
  17. Jump up^ „The Immunity of Members of the European Parliament“ (PDF) . European Union . October 2014 . Retrieved 10 April 2015 .