1. The UK political system
The UK is a constitutional monarchy. It means that the official head of the state is monarch but his or her powers are limited by the constitution. More recently, devolved administrations have been set up for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. These formal institutions, laws and conventions form British Constitution. British Constitution is not written down in any single document, as are the constitutions of many other countries. It is based on custom, tradition and common law. The head of state is the Monarch, executive power is exercised by the Government and legislative power is vested in both the Government and Parliament (House of Commons and The House of Lords). 1.1 Monarch
Full title of the British Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II., is Her Most Excellent Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith). Her surname (if she had any) would be Windsor. The Queen has reigned since her father’s death in 1952. Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, her oldest son, it the heir to the throne. Although it is more probably that the heir to the throne will be, son of Prince Charles, Princ William. But in reality, the Queen acts only on the advice of her ministers. The monarch´s power of veto, which is not clearly defined, has not been used for over two hundred years, and so it has become a tradition that the royal power of veto doe not really exist at all. Today, the monarch’s role is largely ceremonial and mostly restricted to state functions and appearing on stamps and banknotes. But the monarch still retains formal powers and opens parliament each year. 1.2 The UK Government and Parliament
The system of government is a parliamentary democracy. The head of the UK Government is a Prime Minister (D. Cameron) who forms a Government and is most likely member of the House of Commons. The UK is divided into 650 parliamentary constituencies and at least every five years voters elect their Member of Parliament (MP) in a general election. MPs are elected through a system called ‘first past the post’. In each constituency, the candidate who gets the most votes is elected. All of the elected MPs form the House of Commons. Most MPs belong to a political party and the party with the largest number forms the government. Members of the House of Lords are not elected. It is usually the less important of the two chambers of Parliament. It can suggest amendments or propose new laws, which are then discussed by the House of Commons. The House of Lords can become very important if the majority of its members will not agree to pass a law for which the House of Commons has voted. The House of Commons has powers to overrule the House of Lords, but these are rarely used. 1.3 Political Parties
British politics has been dominated by two parties, the left-wing Labour party and the right-wing Conservative party. A third party, the centrist Liberal Democrats, usually picks up around 20% of votes but wins far fewer seats because it is squeezed between the two main parties. Parties from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also send small numbers of lawmakers to Westminster. The current Prime Minister (D. Cameron) is a leader of the Conservative Party, who was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II. on 11 May 2010 following the UK General Election on 6 May 2010. It also means that Britain has its first coalition government since World War II. David Cameron has changed Gordon Brown from Labour party who was The Prime Minister for three years. New Government has brought unpopular changes and cuts such as higher VAT (it was 17,5%, now 20%), tuitions fees are due to rise in a maximum of £9,000 a year from the present level of £3,290...etc. 1.4 Central Government
The Central Government is led by Prime Minister and Cabinet. It is responsible for more general areas such as Health,...
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