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Government and politics


Government and politics

The U.K. is a constitutional monarchy, a member nation of European Union and one of the independent members of Commonwealth.

The British Constitution is not contained in one single document therefore Britain have not a written Constitution. It is formed partly by statute law, partly by common law and partly by convention, it can be al 919i85j tered.

The Monarchy is the most secular institution in the country, going back at least to 9th century. For several centuries the monarch personally exercised supreme legislative, executive and judicial power.

Today the British sovereign( Queen Elisabeth II since 1952) reign but she has not real powers, the only body with power to make laws is Parliament.

Parliament is the supreme legislative authority* which main functions are to pass law, vote taxation and control of Government. A Parliament has a maximum duration of five years. It consists of three bodies:

  • The Queen, which summons and dissolves Parliament, appoints Prime Minister and gives royal assent by signing all laws before they can take effect;(she also appoints judges, she is the temporal Head of the Church of England, the commander in chief of all armed forces and in international affaires she has the function of Head of State and Head of Commonwealth. For British people she is the symbol of their nation's unity).
  • The House of Lords
  • The House of Commons

The House of Lords is made up of hereditary peers, life peers, judges of High Courts in office, the two Anglican Archbishops and other bishops.

The House of Lords is presided over by the Lord Chancellor. He is the chief judge because the House of Lords also has function of acting as the supreme court of appeal.

The House of Lords has very limited powers. It debates the Bills which have been passed by the House of Commons, but it cannot reject them or introduce new legislation.

The House of Commons is elected by universal adult suffrage and consists of 650 members of Parliament(MPs).

The president of the House of Commons is the Speaker, elected by MPs to preside over the House.

The MP cannot sit anywhere he likes. If his party is government party he must sit on the right side of the house; if he doesn't belong to the government party he must sit opposite, on the left side.

Only Minister can sit on the front seat, called a "bench". All other  members, who are not ministers, sit on the back benchers, and are called "backbenchers".

All legislation and major bills are always presented first to the House of Commons, the Lords only have power to delay a bill if no agreement is reached between the two Houses.

*The centre of executive power is Government which responsible for the administration of public affairs.

*The judicial power is exercised by the Law Courts which determines common laws and interprets statutes. It is therefore concerned with the administration of justice and it is independent of both the legislature(Parliament) and executive branch(Government).


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