What kind of government does the United Kingdom have?
The United Kingdom consists of England, Scotland,
Wales and Northern Ireland.
The United Kingdom has a Constitutional Monarchy and a
We do not have a president, the leader of our government is
called the Prime Minister. This is because we have a monarchy still
in existence here and the queen acts as head of state, however this
role is really only ceremonial and the queen has no real power
(other than the fact that the army swears allegiance to the
throne). The Prime Minister is usually the leader of the party
which won the most recent general election. To win an election
outright in Britain, your party needs to have more elected M.P.s
than all other parties. M.P.s are members of parliament who work to
represent the views of a constituency in parliament. There is an
election in the U.K. at least once every five years. The Prime
Minister can choose to hold an election before the end of his/her
term in office.
Unlike in America, there is no limit as to how many terms you
can serve as U.K. Prime Minister. All citizens of 18 years and over
are entitled to a vote in all election (unless they are in prison).
These are always carried out in an appropriate manner so that
people will have confidence in the outcome of the election. Our
country has had this form of government for about 400 years.
Constitutional monarchy. Parliamentary Democracy.
We (the British) have not always had a democratic form of
government, voted for by the people. The concept of Parliament has
been a fairly recent idea. The government rules Britain (England,
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), not just England. The
government sits in parliament in London. We do not have a
president, the leader of our government is called the Prime
Minister. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also have devolved
governments which direct some of their internal affairs.
In Britain there are three main parties, The Conservatives
(right wing beliefs), Labour (left wing beliefs) and the Liberal
Democrats (a center party). The two parties not in power at any
given time attend parliament in opposition to the government and
question the actions the government takes. This is to ensure that
the government always acts in the interest of the people in a
Our country has had this form of government for about 400 years,
however if you look back further than 100 years you will find that
not everybody was always entitled to a vote. Indeed full women's
suffrage only happened in 1928.
The U.K. has a system of Government that is properly referred to
as a 'Constitutional Monarchy' and may also be referred to as a
This system of Government is also largely in use throughout the
Commonwealth, and exclusively in the Commonwealth Realms. (Canada,
New Zealand, Australia, etc). A Constitutional Monarchy (in the
Westminster Style) can be broken down in to three parts; The
Sovereign, The Upper Chamber/House and the Lower Chamber/House. In
the U.K., this refers to Her Majesty The Queen, The House of Lords
and The House of Commons. Conversely in Canada, this refers to Her
Majesty The Queen, The Senate and The House of Commons.
A Constitutional Monarch has been defined as a King or Queen
that Reigns, but does not govern. This is something of a misleading
statement as Her Majesty does in fact still retain some FAR
reaching Royal Prerogative powers, but these are exercised by
members of the government.
Parliamentary Monarchy. The Queen is the head of state, but the
Prime Minister and Government run the country. England has no
government. The executive decisions regarding England are taken by
the UK government.