HOME

TheInfoList





ga, Rialtas na Ríochta Aontaithe
sco, Govrenment o the Unitit Kinrick , image = HM Government logo.svg , image_size=220px, date_established = , state =
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
, address =
10 Downing Street 10 Downing Street in London London is the and of and the . It stands on the in south-east England at the head of a down to the , and has been a major settlement for two millennia. The , its ancient core and financial centre, was f ...

10 Downing Street
,
London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a estuary down to the North Sea, and has b ...

London
, leader_title =
Prime Minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
(
Boris Johnson Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (; born 19 June 1964) is a British politician and writer serving as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government ...

Boris Johnson
) , appointed = The Monarch of the United Kingdom (
Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy A constitutional mo ...

Elizabeth II
) , budget = 882 billion , main_organ =
Cabinet of the United Kingdom The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is a group of the most senior ministers of the crown Minister of the Crown is a formal constitutional term used in Commonwealth realms to describe a minister of the reigning sovereign or viceroy A vic ...
, ministries = 25 ministerial departments, 20 non-ministerial departments , responsible =
Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kin ...
, url = , Debt=The UK is currently in 2,440,091,345,790 (16:52 - Dec. 7th - 2020) See link to debt counter here: https://www.nationaldebtclock.co.uk/ The Government of the United Kingdom, domestically referred to as Her Majesty's Government, or cy, Llywodraeth y DU, label=none for short in
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It ...

Wales
. is the
central government A central government is the government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthl ...
of the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shortha ...

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
.Overview of the UK system of government : Directgov – Government, citizens and rights
Archived direct.gov.uk webpage. Retrieved on 29 August 2014.
The government is led by the
prime minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
(currently
Boris Johnson Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (; born 19 June 1964) is a British politician and writer serving as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government ...

Boris Johnson
, ) who selects all the other ministers. The country has had a
Conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociology), taste, as well as the philosophy of art (its own area of philosophy that comes out of aest ...

Conservative
-led government since
2010 2010 was designated as: * * * *International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures Pronunciation There is a debate among experts and the general public on how to pronounce specific years of the 21st century in English. The year 2010 is pr ...
, with successive prime ministers being the then leader of the Conservative Party. The prime minister and their most senior ministers belong to the supreme decision-making committee, known as the
Cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transparent glass sheets or transparent polycarbonate sheets * Filing ...
.
Ministers of the Crown Minister of the Crown is a formal constitutional term used in Commonwealth realms to describe a minister of the reigning sovereign or viceroy A viceroy () is an official who runs a polity in the name of and as the representative of the mo ...
are responsible to the
House A house is a single-unit residential building A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house or factory. Buildings come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and functio ...
in which they sit; they make statements in that House and take questions from members of that House. For most senior ministers this is usually the elected
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorporat ...

House of Commons
rather than the
House of Lords The House of Lords, formally The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the of the . Membership is by , or . Like the , it meets in the . ar ...

House of Lords
. The government is dependent on Parliament to make
primary legislation In parliamentary systems and presidential systems of government, primary legislation and secondary legislation, the latter also called delegated legislation or subordinate legislation, are two forms of law, created respectively by the legislature ...
, and since the Fixed-terms Parliaments Act 2011,
general elections A general election is a political voting election where generally all or most members of a given political body are chosen. These are usually held for a nation, state, or territory's primary legislative body, and are different from by-elections (o ...
are held every five years to elect a new House of Commons, unless there is a successful
vote of no confidence A motion of no confidence, vote of no confidence, or no confidence motion, sometimes in the reverse as a motion of confidence or vote of confidence, is a statement or vote about whether a person in a position of responsibility (government, manager ...
in the government or a
two-thirds vote A supermajority, supra-majority, qualified majority, or special majority is a requirement for a proposal to gain a specified level of support which is greater than the threshold of more than one-half used for a majority A majority, also calle ...

two-thirds vote
for a
snap election Snap or SNAP may refer to: Arts and entertainment * ''Snap'' (film), the original release title for the 2013 film ''Enter the Dangerous Mind'' *''Snap'' (TV series), a CITV programme * ''Stanly News and Press'', a newspaper in Albemarle, North C ...
(as was the case in
2017 2017 was designated as International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development2017 was declared as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by the United Nations General Assembly on 4 December 2015 relating to sustainab ...
and
2019 2019 was designated as International Year of the Periodic table, Periodic Table of Chemical Elements by the United Nations General Assembly given that it coincides with the 150th anniversary of its creation by Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869. Event ...
) in the House of Commons, in which case an election may be held sooner. After an election, the
monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role tha ...
(currently
Queen Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy A constitutional mo ...

Queen Elizabeth II
) selects as prime minister the leader of the party most likely to command the confidence of the House of Commons, usually by possessing a majority of MPs.House of Commons – Justice Committee – Written Evidence
Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved on 19 October 2010.
Under the uncodified
British constitution The Constitution of the United Kingdom or British constitution comprises the written and unwritten arrangements that establish the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Irel ...
,
executive authority The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. The executive executes and enforces law. In political systems based on the principl ...
lies with the monarch, although this authority is exercised only after receiving the advice of the Privy Council. The Prime minister, the House of Lords, the Leader of the Opposition, and the police and military high command serve as members and advisers of the monarch on the
Privy Council A privy council is a body that advises the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 "he head of state He or HE may refer to: ...
. In most cases the cabinet exercise power directly as leaders of the government departments, though some Cabinet positions are
sinecure A sinecure ( or ; from Latin ''sine'' 'without' and ''cura'' 'care') is an office, carrying a salary or otherwise generating income, that requires or involves little or no responsibility, labour, or active service. The term originated in the medi ...
s to a greater or lesser degree (for instance
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is a ministerial office in the Government of the United Kingdom The Government of the United Kingdom, domestically referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central government of the United ...
or
Lord Privy Seal The Lord Privy Seal (or, more formally, the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal) is the fifth of the Great Officers of State In the United Kingdom, the Great Officers of State are traditional ministers of The Crown who either inherit their posit ...
). The government is sometimes referred to by the
metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of p ...
"Westminster" or "Whitehall", due to that being where many of its offices are situated. These metonyms are used especially by members of the
Scottish Government The Scottish Government ( gd, Riaghaltas na h-Alba, ) is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved government of Scotland. It was formed in 1999 as the Scottish Executive following the 1997 Scottish devolution referendum, 1997 referendum on S ...
,
Welsh Government The Welsh Government ( cy, Llywodraeth Cymru) is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved government of Wales. The government consists of ministers, who attend cabinet meetings, and Minister (government), deputy ministers who do not, and als ...
and
Northern Ireland Executive The Northern Ireland Executive is the devolved government of Northern Ireland, an administrative branch of the legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the stud ...
in order to differentiate their government from HMG.


History

The United Kingdom is a
Constitutional Monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises his authority in accordance with a constitution and is not alone in deciding. Constitutional monarchies differ from ...
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
Magna Carta (Medieval Latin for "Great Charter of Freedoms"), commonly called (also ''Magna Charta''; "Great Charter"), is a Royal charter, royal charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, Berkshire, Windsor, on ...

Magna Carta
in 1215. Since the start of
Edward VII Edward VII (Albert Edward; 9 November 1841 – 6 May 1910) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of Engla ...
's reign in 1901, the prime minister has always been an elected Member of Parliament (MP) and thus directly answerable to the House of Commons. A similar convention applies to the
chancellor of the exchequer The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to the chancellor, is a senior minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and the chief executive officer of HM Treasury, Her Majesty's Treasury. As one of the four Grea ...
. It would probably now be politically unacceptable for the budget speech to be given in the House of Lords, with members of Parliament unable to question the Chancellor directly, especially now that the Lords have very limited powers on money bills. The last chancellor of the exchequer to be a member of the House of Lords was Lord Denman, who served as interim chancellor of the exchequer for one month in 1834.


Her Majesty's Government and the Crown

The
British monarch The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents A precedent is a principle or rule established ...
, currently
Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy A constitutional mo ...

Elizabeth II
, is the
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
and the
sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descende ...

sovereign
, but not the
head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administrat ...
. The monarch takes little direct part in governing the country and remains neutral in political affairs. However, the authority of the state that is vested in the sovereign, known as
the Crown The Crown is the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

the Crown
, remains as the source of executive power exercised by the government. In addition to explicit statutory authority, the Crown also possesses a body of powers in certain matters collectively known as the
royal prerogative The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege and immunity, recognized in common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi- ...
. These powers range from the authority to issue or withdraw passports to declarations of war. By long-standing convention, most of these powers are delegated from the sovereign to various ministers or other officers of the Crown, who may use them without having to obtain the consent of Parliament. The prime minister also has weekly meetings with the monarch, who "has a right and a duty to express her views on Government matters...These meetings, as with all communications between The Queen and her Government, remain strictly confidential. Having expressed her views, The Queen abides by the advice of her ministers." Royal prerogative powers include, but are not limited to, the following:


Domestic powers

* The power to appoint (and in theory, dismiss) a
prime minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
. This power is exercised by the monarch personally. By convention they appoint (and are expected to appoint) the individual most likely to be capable of commanding the confidence of a majority in the House of Commons. * The power to appoint and dismiss 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 Parliament, which is required in order for a law to become effective (an act). This is exercised by the monarch, who also theoretically has the power to refuse assent, although no monarch has refused assent to a bill passed by Parliament since
Queen Anne Queen Anne often refers to: * Anne, Queen of Great Britain (1665–1714), queen of England, Scotland and Ireland (1702–1707) and of Great Britain (1707–1714) **Queen Anne style architecture, an architectural style from her reign, and its revival ...

Queen Anne
in 1708. * The power to give and to issue commissions to
commissioned officer An officer is a person who holds a position of authority as a member of an armed force A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically author ...
s in the
Armed Forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or pa ...
. * The power to command the Armed Forces. This power is exercised by the Defence Council in the Queen's name. * The power to appoint members to the
Privy Council A privy council is a body that advises the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 "he head of state He or HE may refer to: ...
. * The power to issue, to suspend, cancel, recall, impound, withdraw or revoke British passports and the general power to provide or deny British passport facilities to British citizens and British nationals. This is exercised in the United Kingdom (but not necessarily in the
Isle of Man ) , anthem = "O Land of Our Birth The "National Anthem of the Isle of Man" ( gv, Arrane Ashoonagh Vannin) was written and composed by William Henry Gill (1839–1923), with the Manx translation by John J. Kneen (1873–1939). It is often r ...

Isle of Man
,
Channel Islands The Channel Islands ( nrf, Îles d'la Manche; french: îles Anglo-Normandes or ''îles de la Manche'') are an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island ...

Channel Islands
or
British Overseas Territories The British Overseas Territories (BOTs), also known as United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs), are fourteen dependent territory, territories all with a constitutional and historical link with the United Kingdom. They are remnants of the B ...

British Overseas Territories
) by the
Home Secretary The home secretary, officially the secretary of state for the Home Department, is a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom, with overall responsibility for all Home Office business. The ...
. * The power to pardon any conviction (the
royal prerogative of mercy In the English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World l ...
). * The power to grant, cancel and annul any
honours Honour (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, whi ...
. * The power to create corporations (including the status of being a city, with its own corporation) by
royal charter A royal charter is a formal grant issued by a monarch under royal prerogative The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege and immunity, recognized in common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or ...

royal charter
, and to amend, replace and revoke existing charters.


Foreign powers

* The power to make and ratify
treaties A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relati ...

treaties
. * The power to
declare war ''Declare'' ( 2000) is a supernatural spy novel by American author Tim Powers. The novel presents a secret history of the Cold War, and earned several major fantasy fiction awards. Plot summary The non-linear plot, shifting back and forth in time ...
and conclude peace with other nations. * The power to deploy the Armed Forces overseas. * The power to recognise states. * The power to credit and receive diplomats. Even though the United Kingdom has no single constitutional document, the government published the above list in October 2003 to increase transparency, as some of the powers exercised in the name of the monarch are part of the
royal prerogative The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege and immunity, recognized in common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi- ...
. 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 Absolute monarchy (or absolutism as doctrine) is a form of monarchy in which the monarch holds supreme autocracy, autocratic authority, principally not being restricted by written laws, legislature, or customs. These are often hereditary monar ...
, or were modified by later constitutional practice.


Ministers and departments

As of 2019, there are around 120 government ministers supported by 560,000
civil servants The civil service is a collective term for a sector of government composed mainly of career civil servants hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected, whose institutional tenure typically survives transitions of political leadersh ...
and other staff working in the 25 ministerial departments and their
executive agencies An executive agency is a part of a government department that is treated as managerially and budgetarily separate, to carry out some part of the executive functions of the United Kingdom government The Government of the United Kingdom, dom ...
. There are also an additional 20 non-ministerial departments with a range of further responsibilities. In theory a government minister does not have to be a member of either House of Parliament. In practice, however, convention is that ministers must be members of either the House of Commons or House of Lords in order to be accountable to Parliament. From time to time, prime ministers appoint non-parliamentarians as ministers. In recent years such ministers have been appointed to the House of Lords.


Government in Parliament

Under the British system, the government is required by convention and for practical reasons to maintain the confidence of the House of Commons. It requires the support of the House of Commons for the maintenance of
supply Supply may refer to: *The amount of a resource Resource refers to all the materials available in our environment which help us to satisfy our needs and wants. Resources can broadly be classified upon their availability — they are classified in ...
(by voting through the government's budgets) and to pass
primary legislation In parliamentary systems and presidential systems of government, primary legislation and secondary legislation, the latter also called delegated legislation or subordinate legislation, are two forms of law, created respectively by the legislature ...
. By convention, if a government loses the confidence of the House of Commons it must either resign or a general election is held. The support of the Lords, while useful to the government in getting its legislation passed without delay, 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 Responsible government is a conception of a system of government that embodies the principle of parliamentary accountability, the foundation of the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy. Governments (the equivalent of the executive bra ...
. The prime minister is held to account during
Prime Minister's Questions Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs, officially known as Questions to the Prime Minister, while colloquially known as Prime Minister's Question Time) is a constitutional convention in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain ...
(PMQs) which provides an opportunity for MPs from all parties to question 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 junior ministers within the department may answer on behalf of the government, depending on the topic of the question. During debates on legislation proposed by the government, ministers—usually with departmental responsibility for the
bill Bill(s) may refer to: Common meanings * Banknote A banknote (often known as a bill (in the US and Canada), paper money, or simply a note) is a type of negotiable instrument, negotiable promissory note, made by a bank or other licensed author ...
—will lead the debate for the government and respond to points made by MPs or Lords. Committees of both the House of Commons and House of Lords hold the government to account, scrutinise its work and examine 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 The Ministerial Code is a document setting out "rules" and standards for government ministers in the United Kingdom. Separate codes exist for ministers of the Scottish Government sco, Scots Govrenment , border = , image ...
, when Parliament is sitting, to make major statements regarding government policy or issues of national importance to Parliament. This allows MPs or Lords to question the government on the statement. When the government instead 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.


Location

The prime minister is based at
10 Downing Street 10 Downing Street in London London is the and of and the . It stands on the in south-east England at the head of a down to the , and has been a major settlement for two millennia. The , its ancient core and financial centre, was f ...

10 Downing Street
in
Westminster Westminster is a district in Central London Central London is the innermost part of London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city sta ...

Westminster
, London. Cabinet meetings also take place here. Most government departments have their headquarters nearby in
Whitehall Whitehall is a road and area in the City of Westminster, Central London. The road forms the first part of the A roads in Zone 3 of the Great Britain numbering scheme, A3212 road from Trafalgar Square to Chelsea, London, Chelsea. It is the main ...

Whitehall
.


Limits of government power

The government's powers include general executive and statutory powers,
delegated legislation In parliamentary systems and presidential systems of government, primary legislation and secondary legislation, the latter also called delegated legislation or subordinate legislation, are two forms of law, created respectively by the legislature ...
, and numerous powers of appointment and patronage. However, some powerful officials and bodies, (e.g. HM judges,
local authorities Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geograp ...
, 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 In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority ...
or granted and limited by act of Parliament. Both substantive and procedural limitations are enforceable in the courts by
judicial review Judicial review is a process under which executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administration of state bureaucracy * Executive, ...
. Nevertheless, magistrates and mayors can still be arrested for and put on trial for corruption, and the government has powers to insert commissioners into a local authority to oversee its work, and to issue directives that must be obeyed by the local authority, if the local authority is not abiding by its statutory obligations. By contrast, as in
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
(EU) member states, EU officials cannot be prosecuted for any actions carried out in pursuit of their official duties, and foreign country diplomats (though not their employees) and foreign
members of the European Parliament A Member of the European Parliament (MEP) is a person who has been elected to serve as a popular representative in the European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of three Legislature, legislative branches of the European Un ...
are immune from prosecution in EU states under any circumstance. As a consequence, neither EU bodies nor diplomats have to pay taxes, since it would not be possible to prosecute them for tax evasion. When the UK was a member of the EU, this caused a dispute when the US ambassador to the UK claimed that London's
congestion charge Congestion pricing or congestion charges is a system of surcharging users of public goods that are subject to congestion through excess demand In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value ...
was a tax, and not a charge (despite the name), and therefore he did not have to pay it – a claim the
Greater London Authority The Greater London Authority (GLA), colloquially known by the metonym "City Hall", is the devolved Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government A central government is the government A gove ...
disputed. Similarly, the monarch is totally immune from criminal prosecution and may only be sued with her permission (this is known as
sovereign immunity Sovereign immunity, or crown immunity, is a legal doctrine A legal doctrine is a framework, set of rules, Procedural law, procedural steps, or Test (law), test, often established through precedent in the common law, through which judgments ca ...
). The monarch, by law, is not required to pay income tax, but
Queen Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy A constitutional mo ...

Queen Elizabeth II
has voluntarily paid it since 1993, and also pays local rates voluntarily. However, the monarchy also receives a substantial grant from the government, the Sovereign Support Grant, and Queen Elizabeth II's inheritance from her mother,
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon (4 August 1900 – 30 March 2002) was Queen of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy A consti ...

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
, was exempt from
inheritance tax An inheritance tax is a tax A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interre ...
. In addition to legislative powers, HM Government has substantial influence over local authorities and other bodies set up by it, by financial powers and grants. Many functions carried out by local authorities, such as paying out housing benefit and council tax benefit, are funded or substantially part-funded by central government. Neither the central government nor local authorities are permitted to sue anyone for
defamation Defamation (also known as calumny, vilification, libel, slander, or traducement) is the oral or written communication of a false statement about another that unjustly harms their reputation and usually constitutes a tort A tort, in commo ...
. Individual politicians are allowed to sue people for defamation in a personal capacity and without using government funds, but this is relatively rare (although
George Galloway George Galloway (born 16 August 1954) is a British politician, broadcaster, and writer serving as the leader of the Workers Party of Britain The Workers Party of Britain (WPB) is a Minor party, minor List of political parties in the United ...

George Galloway
, who was a
backbench In Westminster parliamentary systems, a backbencher is a member of parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the people who live in their constituency. In many countries with Bicameralism, bicameral parliaments, this ...
MP for a quarter of a century, has sued or threatened to sue for defamation a number of times). However, it is a criminal offence 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).


Terminology

While the government is the current group of ministers (the
British Government frontbench The Government frontbench in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, also known as the Treasury Bench, consists of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom, Cabinet and all other ministers. Key Leader of the Government and Cabinet Office Foreign rela ...
), the government is also sometimes seen more broadly as including people or organisations that work for the ministers. The
civil service The civil service is a collective term for a sector of government composed mainly of career civil servants hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected, whose institutional tenure typically survives transitions of political leader ...
, while 'independent of government', is sometimes described as being part of the government, due to the closeness of its working with ministers, in advising them, supporting them, and implementing their executive decisions. Some individuals who work for ministers even have the word 'Government' in their title, such as the Government Actuary and the
Government Chief Scientific Adviser The UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) is the personal adviser on science and technology-related activities and policies to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister and the Cabinet of the United Kingdom, Cabinet; and he ...
, as do civil service organisations such as the
Government Statistical Service The Government Statistical Service (GSS) is the community of all civil servants in the United Kingdom who work in the collection, production and communication of official statistics. It includes not only statisticians, but also economists, social ...
, the Government Legal Profession, and the
Government Office for Science The Government Office for Science is part of the British government The Government of the United Kingdom, domestically referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern I ...
. Companies owned by the government can also be seen as parts of the government, such as
UK Government Investments UK Government Investments (UKGI) is a company owned by the Government of the United Kingdom The Government of the United Kingdom, domestically referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central government of the United Kingdom of Great ...
and . Similarly,
Parliamentary Private Secretaries A Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) is a Member of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the people who live in their constituency. In many countries with Bicameralism, bicameral parliaments, this category includ ...
are not ministers and so not part of the government. However, they are bound by parts of the
ministerial code The Ministerial Code is a document setting out "rules" and standards for government ministers in the United Kingdom. Separate codes exist for ministers of the Scottish Government sco, Scots Govrenment , border = , image ...
, are part of the
payroll vote The payroll vote is a term in the British parliamentary system for Members of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the people who live in their constituency. In many countries with Bicameralism, bicameral parliament ...
, and can be seen as being on the 'first rung of the ministerial ladder'. They are sometimes described as being part of the government.


Devolved governments

Since 1999, certain areas of central government have been devolved to accountable governments in
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
,
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It ...

Wales
and
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
. These are not part of Her Majesty's Government, and are directly accountable to their own institutions, with their own authority under the Crown; in contrast, there is no devolved government in England.


Local government

Up to three layers of elected local authorities (such as county, district and parish Councils) exist throughout all parts of the United Kingdom, in some places merged into
unitary authorities A unitary authority is a local authority Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized gove ...
. They have limited local tax-raising powers. Many other authorities and agencies also have statutory powers, generally subject to some central government supervision.


See also

*
Departments of the United Kingdom Government The Government of the United Kingdom is divided up into departments. These, according to the government, are responsible for putting government policy into practice. There are currently 23 ministerial departments, 20 non-ministerial departments ...
*
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom The Supreme Court (initialism An acronym is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical ...
*
Gov.uk gov.uk (styled on the site as GOV.UK) is a United Kingdom public sector information website, created by the Government Digital Service to provide a single point of access to HM Government services. The site launched as a Software release life cycl ...
* Government spending in the United Kingdom *
British Government Frontbench The Government frontbench in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, also known as the Treasury Bench, consists of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom, Cabinet and all other ministers. Key Leader of the Government and Cabinet Office Foreign rela ...
* Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition *
List of British governments This article lists successive British governments, also referred to as ministries, from the creation of the Kingdom of Great Britain The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain,"After the political union of England and Sc ...
*
Northern Ireland Executive The Northern Ireland Executive is the devolved government of Northern Ireland, an administrative branch of the legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the stud ...
*
Scottish Government The Scottish Government ( gd, Riaghaltas na h-Alba, ) is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved government of Scotland. It was formed in 1999 as the Scottish Executive following the 1997 Scottish devolution referendum, 1997 referendum on S ...
*
Welsh Government The Welsh Government ( cy, Llywodraeth Cymru) is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved government of Wales. The government consists of ministers, who attend cabinet meetings, and Minister (government), deputy ministers who do not, and als ...
*
Whole of Government AccountsWhole of Government Accounts (WGA) is the annual publication by the United Kingdom UK Government, Government of the consolidated financial statements of over 5,500 organisations across the public sector. It aims to provide more complete data for fisc ...
* Office for Veterans' Affairs


References

;Footnotes


External links

*
Official website
of
10 Downing Street 10 Downing Street in London London is the and of and the . It stands on the in south-east England at the head of a down to the , and has been a major settlement for two millennia. The , its ancient core and financial centre, was f ...

10 Downing Street

UK Government
list of ministers from GOV.UK
How Government works
overview from GOV.UK {{DEFAULTSORT:Government of the United Kingdom Constitution of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...
European governments, United Kingdom