Political history of the United Kingdom
   HOME

TheInfoList



OR:

The
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...
is a
unitary state A unitary state is a sovereign state governed as a single entity in which the central government is the supreme authority. The central government may create (or abolish) administrative division Administrative division, administrative un ...
with
devolution Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government of a sovereign state A sovereign state or sovereign country, is a polity, political entity represented by one central government that has supreme legitimat ...
that is governed within the framework of a
parliamentary democracy A parliamentary system, or parliamentarian democracy, is a system of democracy, democratic government, governance of a sovereign state, state (or subordinate entity) where the Executive (government), executive derives its democratic legitimacy ...
under a
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises their authority in accordance with a constitution and is not alone in decision making. Constitutional monarchies dif ...
in which the
monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until abdication, and therefore the head of state of a monarchy. A monarch may exercise the highest authority ...
, currently
Charles III, King of the United Kingdom Charles III (Charles Philip Arthur George; born 14 November 1948) is King of the United Kingdom and the 14 other Commonwealth realms. He was the longest-serving heir apparent and Prince of Wales and, at age 73, became the oldest person to a ...
, is 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: Language * He (pronoun), an English pronoun * He (kana), the romanization of the Japanese kana へ * He (letter) He is the fifth Letter (alphabet), letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician alphabet, Phoenic ...
being an embodiment of the State itself or representatitve of its international p ...
while the
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the ...
,
Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak (; born 12 May 1980) is a British politician who has served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party since October 2022. He previously held two Cabinet of ...
, is the
head of government The head of government is the highest or the second-highest official in the Executive (government), executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, autonomous region, or other government who often presid ...
.
Executive power The Executive, also referred as the Executive branch or Executive power, is the term commonly used to describe that part of government which enforces the law, and has overall responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. In poli ...
is exercised by the
British government ga, Rialtas a Shoilse gd, Riaghaltas a Mhòrachd , image = HM Government logo.svg , image_size = 220px , image2 = Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg , image_size2 = 180px , caption = Royal coat of arms of t ...
, on behalf of and by the consent of the monarch, and the devolved governments of
Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo-Scottish border, border with England to the southeast ...
,
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, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the ...
and
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, that is #Descriptions, variously described as ...
.
Legislative power A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
is vested in the two chambers of the
Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It meets at the Palace of We ...
, the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In both of these countries, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. T ...
and the
House of Lords The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers, is the Bicameralism, upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is by Life peer, appointment, Hereditary peer, heredity or Lords Spiritual, official function. Like the ...
, as well as in the Scottish,
Northern Irish Northern Irish people is a demonym A demonym (; ) or gentilic () is a word that identifies a group of people (inhabitants, residents, natives) in relation to a particular place. Demonyms are usually derived from the name of the place (ham ...
and Welsh parliaments. The British political system is a
two party system A two-party system is a Politics, political party system in which two major party, major political parties consistently dominate the political landscape. At any point in time, one of the two parties typically holds a majority in the legislature ...
. Since the 1920s, the two dominant parties have been the Conservative Party and the Labour Party. Before the Labour Party rose in British politics, the
Liberal Party The Liberal Party is any of many political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics ...
was the other major political party, along with the Conservatives. While
coalition A coalition is a group formed when two or more people or groups temporarily work together to achieve a common goal. The term is most frequently used to denote a formation of power in political or economical spaces. Formation According to ''A Gui ...
and
minority government A minority government, minority cabinet, minority administration, or a minority parliament is a government and cabinet formed in a parliamentary system when a political party or coalition of parties does not have a majority of overall seats ...
s have been an occasional feature of parliamentary politics, the
first-past-the-post In a first-past-the-post electoral system (FPTP or FPP), formally called single-member plurality voting (SMP) when used in single-member districts or informally choose-one voting in contrast to ranked voting, or score voting, voters cast their ...
electoral system used for
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-election ...
tends to maintain the dominance of these two parties, though each has in the past century relied upon a
third party Third party may refer to: Business * Third-party source, a supplier company not owned by the buyer or seller * Third-party beneficiary, a person who could sue on a contract, despite not being an active party * Third-party insurance, such as a Veh ...
, such as the Liberal Democrats, to deliver a working majority in Parliament. A Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition government held office from 2010 until 2015, the first coalition since 1945. The coalition ended following parliamentary elections on 7 May 2015, in which the Conservative Party won an outright majority of seats, 330 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons, while their coalition partners lost all but eight seats. With the
partition of Ireland The partition of Ireland ( ga, críochdheighilt na hÉireann) was the process by which the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland divided History of Ireland (1801–1923), Ireland into two self-governing polities: Northe ...
,
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, that is #Descriptions, variously described as ...
received home rule in 1920, though
civil unrest Civil disorder, also known as civil disturbance, civil unrest, or social unrest is a situation arising from a mass act of civil disobedience (such as a Political demonstration, demonstration, riot, Strike action, strike, or unlawful assembly) in ...
meant direct rule was restored in 1972. Support for nationalist parties in Scotland and Wales led to proposals for devolution in the 1970s, though only in the 1990s did devolution happen. Today,
Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo-Scottish border, border with England to the southeast ...
,
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, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the ...
and Northern Ireland each possess a legislature and executive, with devolution in Northern Ireland being conditional on participation in certain all-Ireland institutions. The British government remains responsible for non-devolved matters and, in the case of Northern Ireland, co-operates with the
government of the Republic of Ireland The Government of Ireland ( ga, Rialtas na hÉireann) is the cabinet (government), cabinet that exercises executive (government), executive authority in Republic of Ireland, Ireland. The Constitution of Ireland vests executive authority in a gove ...
. Devolution of executive and legislative powers may have contributed to increased support for independence in the constituent parts of the United Kingdom. The principal Scottish pro-independence party, the
Scottish National Party The Scottish National Party (SNP; sco, Scots National Pairty, gd, Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba ) is a Scottish nationalism, Scottish nationalist and social democracy, social democratic list of political parties in Scotland, political party ...
, became a
minority government A minority government, minority cabinet, minority administration, or a minority parliament is a government and cabinet formed in a parliamentary system when a political party or coalition of parties does not have a majority of overall seats ...
in 2007 and then went on to win an overall majority of MSPs at the 2011 Scottish parliament elections and forms the current Scottish Government administration. In a 2014 referendum on independence 44.7% of voters voted for independence versus 55.3% against. In Northern Ireland,
Irish nationalist Irish nationalism is a nationalist Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the interests of a particular nation (a ...
parties such as
Sinn Féin Sinn Féin ( , ; en, " eOurselves") is an Irish republican Irish republicanism ( ga, poblachtánachas Éireannach) is the political movement for the United Ireland, unity and independence of Ireland under a republic. Irish republicans ...
advocate
Irish reunification United Ireland, also referred to as Irish reunification, is the proposition that all of Ireland should be a single sovereign state. At present, the island is divided politically; the sovereign Republic of Ireland has jurisdiction over the maj ...
. In Wales
Plaid Cymru Plaid Cymru ( ; ; officially Plaid Cymru – the Party of Wales, often referred to simply as Plaid) is a Centre-left politics, centre-left to Left-wing politics, left-wing, Welsh nationalism, Welsh nationalist list of political parties in Wales ...
support
Welsh independence Welsh independence ( cy, Annibyniaeth i Gymru) is the political movement advocating for Wales to become a sovereign state, independent from the United Kingdom. Conquest of Wales by Edward I, Wales was conquered during the 13th century by Edward ...
. The
constitution of the United Kingdom The constitution of the United Kingdom or British constitution comprises the written and unwritten arrangements that establish the United Kingdom, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as a political body. Unlike in most count ...
is uncodified, being made up of constitutional conventions,
statute A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislature, legislative authority that governs the legal entities of a city, State (polity), state, or country by way of consent. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare Public p ...
s and other elements. This system of government, known as the Westminster system, has been adopted by other countries, especially those that were formerly parts of the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. I ...
. The United Kingdom is also responsible for several dependencies, which fall into two categories: the Crown Dependencies, in the immediate vicinity of the UK, are strictly-speaking subject to the Crown (ie, the Monarch) but not part of the sovereign territory of the United Kingdom (though ''de facto'' British territory), and
British Overseas Territories The British Overseas Territories (BOTs), also known as the United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs), are fourteen territories with a constitutional and historical link with the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain ...
, as British colonies were re-designated in 1983, which are part of the sovereign territory of the United Kingdom, in most of which aspects of internal governance have been delegated to local governments, with each territory having its own First Minister, though the title used may differ, such as in the case of the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, though they remain subject to the Parliament of the United Kingdom (when ''United Kingdom'' is used to refer only to that part of the British Realm, or sovereign British territory, which is governed directly by the British Government, and not via local subsidiary governments, ''United Kingdom'' logically refers to a local government area, though the national government performs the role of local government within that area).


History

*
Treaty of Union The Treaty of Union is the name usually now given to the treaty which led to the creation of the new state of kingdom of Great Britain, Great Britain, stating that the Kingdom of England (which already included Wales) and the Kingdom of Sco ...
agreed by commissioners for each parliament on 22 July 1706. *
Acts of Union 1707 The Acts of Union ( gd, Achd an Aonaidh) were two Act of Parliament, Acts of Parliament: the Union with Scotland Act 1706 passed by the Parliament of England, and the Union with England Act 1707 passed by the Parliament of Scotland. They put ...
, passed by both the Parliament of England and the
Parliament of Scotland The Parliament of Scotland ( sco, Pairlament o Scotland; gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba) was the legislature of the Kingdom of Scotland from the 13th century until 1707. The parliament evolved during the early 13th century from the king's council of ...
to form the
Kingdom of Great Britain The Kingdom of Great Britain (officially Great Britain) was a Sovereign state, sovereign country in Western Europe from 1 May 1707 to the end of 31 December 1800. The state was created by the 1706 Treaty of Union and ratified by the Acts of ...
. *
Act of Union 1800 Act or ACT may refer to: Arts and entertainment * A.C.T, a Swedish band * Act (band), a British band * Act (drama), a segment of a play or opera * ACT Music, a German music label * ACT Theatre, in Seattle, Washington, US * Acting, theatr ...
, passed by both the
Parliament of Great Britain The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by both the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland. The Acts ratified the treaty of Union which created a new unified Kin ...
and the
Parliament of Ireland The Parliament of Ireland ( ga, Parlaimint na hÉireann) was the legislature of the Lordship of Ireland, and later the Kingdom of Ireland, from 1297 until 1800. It was modelled on the Parliament of England and from 1537 comprised two chambe ...
to form the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state in the British Isles that existed between 1801 and 1922, when it included all of Ireland. It was established by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the Kingdom of Great B ...
. *
Government of Ireland Act 1920 The Government of Ireland Act 1920 (10 & 11 Geo. 5 c. 67) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislativ ...
, passed by the
Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It meets at the Palace of We ...
and created the
partition of Ireland The partition of Ireland ( ga, críochdheighilt na hÉireann) was the process by which the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland divided History of Ireland (1801–1923), Ireland into two self-governing polities: Northe ...
. The republican southern part of Ireland became
Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland (), is a country in north-western Europe consisting of 26 of the 32 Counties of Ireland, counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, on the eastern ...
(also known as Éire), leaving
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, that is #Descriptions, variously described as ...
part of the union. * The Accession of the United Kingdom to the European Communities (EC) took effect on 1 January 1973. * The United Kingdom withdrew from the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020.


The Crown

The
British monarch The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy, constitutional form of government by which a hereditary monarchy, hereditary sovereign reigns as the head of state of the United ...
, currently
Charles III Charles III (Charles Philip Arthur George; born 14 November 1948) is King of the United Kingdom and the 14 other Commonwealth realms. He was the longest-serving heir apparent and Prince of Wales and, at age 73, became the oldest person to a ...
, is 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: Language * He (pronoun), an English pronoun * He (kana), the romanization of the Japanese kana へ * He (letter) He is the fifth Letter (alphabet), letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician alphabet, Phoenic ...
being an embodiment of the State itself or representatitve of its international p ...
of the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...
. Though he takes little direct part in government, the Crown remains the fount in which ultimate executive power over government lies. These powers are known as
royal prerogative The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege and immunity, recognized in common law and, sometimes, in Civil law (legal system), civil law jurisdictions possessing a monarchy, as belonging to the monarch, sovereign and whic ...
and can be used for a vast amount of things, such as the issue or withdrawal of passports, to the dismissal of the
prime minister A prime minister, premier or chief of cabinet is the head of the Cabinet (government), cabinet and the leader of the Minister (government), ministers in the Executive (government), executive branch of government, often in a parliamentary syst ...
or even the declaration of war. The powers are delegated from the monarch personally, in the name of the Crown, and can be handed to various ministers, or other officers of the Crown, and can purposely bypass the consent of Parliament. The head of
His Majesty's Government ga, Rialtas a Shoilse gd, Riaghaltas a Mhòrachd , image = HM Government logo.svg , image_size = 220px , image2 = Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg , image_size2 = 180px , caption = Royal coat of arms of t ...
, the prime minister, also has weekly meetings with the sovereign, where he may express his feelings, warn, or advise the prime minister in the government's work. According to the uncodified constitution of the United Kingdom, the monarch has the following powers: Domestic powers * The power to dismiss and appoint a prime minister * The power to dismiss and appoint other ministers * The power to summon, prorogue and dissolve Parliament * The power to grant or refuse Royal Assent to bills (making them valid and law) * The power to commission officers in the Armed Forces * The power to command the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom * The power to appoint members to the
King's Counsel In the United Kingdom and in some Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth countries, a King's Counsel (Post-nominal letters, post-nominal initials KC) during the reign of a king, or Queen's Counsel (post-nominal initials QC) during the reign of ...
* The power to issue and withdraw passports * The power to grant
prerogative of mercy In the English and British tradition, the royal prerogative of mercy is one of the historic royal prerogative The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege and immunity, recognized in common law and, sometimes, in Civil ...
(though capital punishment is abolished, this power is still used to change sentences) * The power to grant honours * The power to create corporations via
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 and, sometimes, in Civil law (legal system), civil law ...
Foreign powers * The power to ratify and make treaties * The power to declare war and peace * The power to deploy the Armed Forces overseas * The power to recognise states * The power to credit and receive diplomats


Executive

Executive power The Executive, also referred as the Executive branch or Executive power, is the term commonly used to describe that part of government which enforces the law, and has overall responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. In poli ...
in the United Kingdom is exercised by the Sovereign, King
Charles III Charles III (Charles Philip Arthur George; born 14 November 1948) is King of the United Kingdom and the 14 other Commonwealth realms. He was the longest-serving heir apparent and Prince of Wales and, at age 73, became the oldest person to a ...
, via
His Majesty's Government ga, Rialtas a Shoilse gd, Riaghaltas a Mhòrachd , image = HM Government logo.svg , image_size = 220px , image2 = Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg , image_size2 = 180px , caption = Royal coat of arms of t ...
and the devolved national authorities - the Scottish Government, the
Welsh Government The Welsh Government ( cy, Llywodraeth Cymru) is the Welsh devolution, devolved government of Wales. The government consists of ministers and Minister (government), deputy ministers, and also of a Counsel General for Wales, counsel general. Minist ...
and the
Northern Ireland Executive The Northern Ireland Executive is the devolution, devolved government of Northern Ireland, an administrative branch of the legislature – the Northern Ireland Assembly. It is answerable to the assembly and was initially established according ...
.


His Majesty's Government

The monarch appoints a
Prime Minister A prime minister, premier or chief of cabinet is the head of the Cabinet (government), cabinet and the leader of the Minister (government), ministers in the Executive (government), executive branch of government, often in a parliamentary syst ...
as the head of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, guided by the strict convention that the Prime Minister should be the member of the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In both of these countries, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. T ...
most likely to be able to form a Government with the support of that House. In practice, this means that the leader of the
political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics, and parties may promote specific political ideology ...
with an absolute majority of seats in the House of Commons is chosen to be the Prime Minister. If no party has an absolute majority, the leader of the largest party is given the first opportunity to form a coalition. The Prime Minister then selects the other Ministers which make up the Government and act as political heads of the various Government Departments. About twenty of the most senior government ministers make up the Cabinet and approximately 100 ministers in total comprise the government. In accordance with constitutional convention, all ministers within the government are either
Members of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative in parliament of the people who live in their electoral district. In many countries with Bicameralism, bicameral parliaments, this term refers only to members of the lower house since upper house ...
or peers in the
House of Lords The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers, is the Bicameralism, upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is by Life peer, appointment, Hereditary peer, heredity or Lords Spiritual, official function. Like the ...
. As in some other
parliamentary system A parliamentary system, or parliamentarian democracy, is a system of democracy, democratic government, governance of a sovereign state, state (or subordinate entity) where the Executive (government), executive derives its democratic legitimacy ...
s of government (especially those based upon the Westminster system), the executive (called "the government") is drawn from and is answerable to Parliament - a successful
vote of no confidence A motion of no confidence, also variously called a vote of no confidence, no-confidence motion, motion of confidence, or vote of confidence, is a statement or vote about whether a person in a position of responsibility like in government or mana ...
will force the government either to resign or to seek a parliamentary dissolution and a
general election 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-election ...
. In practice, members of parliament of all major parties are strictly controlled by
whips A whip is a tool or weapon designed to strike humans or other animals to exert control through pain compliance Pain compliance is the use of painful stimulus to control or direct an organism. The stimulus can be manual (brute force, placing ...
who try to ensure they vote according to party policy. If the government has a large majority, then they are very unlikely to lose enough votes to be unable to pass legislation.


The Prime Minister and the Cabinet

The Prime Minister, currently Rishi Sunak, is the most senior minister in the Cabinet. Their tenure begins when they are appointed by the monarch. The Prime Minister is responsible for chairing Cabinet meetings, selecting Cabinet ministers (and all other positions in His Majesty's government), and formulating government policy. The Prime Minister being the ''de facto'' leader of the UK, exercises executive functions that are nominally vested in the sovereign (by way of the Royal Prerogatives). Historically, the British monarch was the sole source of executive powers in the government. However, following the lead of the Hanoverian monarchs, an arrangement of a "Prime Minister" chairing and leading the Cabinet began to emerge. Over time, this arrangement became the effective executive branch of government, as it assumed the day-to-day functioning of the British government away from the sovereign. Theoretically, the Prime Minister is ''
primus inter pares ''Primus inter pares'' is a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium ...
'' (i.e., Latin for "first among equals") among their Cabinet colleagues. While the Prime Minister is the senior Cabinet Minister, they are theoretically bound to make executive decisions in a collective fashion with the other Cabinet ministers. The Cabinet, along with the PM, consists of Secretaries of State from the various government departments, the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, the
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 (United Kingdom), Great Officers of State in the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord President of the Council and abov ...
, the
Lord President of the Council The lord president of the Council is the presiding officer of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom The Privy Council (PC), officially His Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the sovereign of th ...
, the
President of the Board of Trade The president of the Board of Trade is head of the Board of Trade. This is a committee of the His Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, Privy Council of the United Kingdom, first established as a temporary committee of inquiry in the 17th centu ...
, the
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 position is the second highest ranking minister in the Cabinet Office, immediately after the Prime Minister, and senior to the Minist ...
and Ministers without portfolio. Cabinet meetings are typically held weekly, while Parliament is in session.


Government departments and the Civil Service

The Government of the United Kingdom contains a number of ministries known mainly, though not exclusively as departments, e.g.,
Department for Education The Department for Education (DfE) is a Departments of the Government of the United Kingdom, department of Government of the United Kingdom, His Majesty's Government responsible for child protection, child services, Education in England, educa ...
. These are politically led by a
Government Minister A minister is a politician who heads a ministry (government department), ministry, making and implementing decisions on policies in conjunction with the other ministers. In some jurisdictions the head of government is also a minister and is desi ...
who is often a Secretary of State and member of the Cabinet. The minister may also be supported by a number of junior ministers. In practice, several government departments and ministers have responsibilities that cover England alone, with devolved bodies having responsibility for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, (for example - the
Department of Health A health department or health ministry is a part of government which focuses on issues related to the general health of the citizenry. Subnational entity, Subnational entities, such as State (administrative division), states, county, counties an ...
), or responsibilities that mainly focus on England (such as the
Department for Education The Department for Education (DfE) is a Departments of the Government of the United Kingdom, department of Government of the United Kingdom, His Majesty's Government responsible for child protection, child services, Education in England, educa ...
). Implementation of the Minister's decisions is carried out by a permanent politically neutral
organisation An organization or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British English spelling differences#-ise, -ize (-isation, -ization), see spelling differences), is an legal entity, entity—such as ...
known as 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 leaders ...
. Its constitutional role is to support the Government of the day regardless of which political party is in power. Unlike some other democracies, senior civil servants remain in post upon a change of Government. Administrative management of the Department is led by a head civil servant known in most Departments as a
Permanent Secretary A permanent secretary (also known as a principal secretary) is the most senior Civil Service (United Kingdom), civil servant of a department or Ministry (government department), ministry charged with running the department or ministry's day-to-day ...
. The majority of the civil service staff in fact work in
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 ga, Rialtas a Shoilse gd, Riaghaltas a ...
, which are separate operational organisations reporting to Departments of State. "Whitehall" is often used as a
metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech in which a concept is referred to by the name of something closely associated with that thing or concept. Etymology The words ''metonymy'' and ''metonym'' come from grc, μετωνυμία, 'a change of name' ...
for the central core of the Civil Service. This is because most Government Departments have headquarters in and around the former Royal Palace
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 ...
.


Devolved national administrations


Scottish Government

The Scottish Government is responsible for all issues that are not explicitly
reserved Reserved is a Polish apparel retailer headquartered in Gdańsk Gdańsk ( , also ; ; csb, Gduńsk;Stefan Ramułt, ''Słownik języka pomorskiego, czyli kaszubskiego'', Kraków 1893, Gdańsk 2003, ISBN 83-87408-64-6. , Johann Georg Theod ...
to the United Kingdom Parliament at
Westminster Westminster is an area of Central London, part of the wider City of Westminster. The area, which extends from the River Thames to Oxford Street, has many Tourism in London, visitor attractions and historic landmarks, including the Palace of W ...
, by the Scotland Act; including
NHS Scotland NHS Scotland, sometimes styled NHSScotland, is the Publicly-funded health care, publicly funded healthcare system in Scotland and one of the four systems that make up the National Health Service in the United Kingdom. It operates 14 territorial ...
,
education Education is a purposeful activity directed at achieving certain aims, such as transmitting knowledge or fostering skills and character traits. These aims may include the development of understanding, rationality, kindness, and honesty ...
,
justice Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many differing viewpoints and perspective ...
, rural affairs, and
transport Transport (in British English), or transportation (in American English), is the intentional Motion, movement of humans, animals, and cargo, goods from one location to another. Mode of transport, Modes of transport include aviation, air, land ...
. It manages an annual budget of more than £25 billion. The government is led by the
First Minister A first minister is any of a variety of leaders of government Cabinet (government), cabinets. The term literally has the same meaning as "prime minister" but is typically chosen to distinguish the office-holder from a superior prime minister. Cur ...
, assisted by various Ministers with individual
portfolio Portfolio may refer to: Objects * Portfolio (briefcase), a type of briefcase Collections * Portfolio (finance), a collection of assets held by an institution or a private individual * Artist's portfolio, a sample of an artist's work or a c ...
s and remits. The
Scottish Parliament The Scottish Parliament ( gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba ; sco, Scots Pairlament) is the devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved, unicameralism, unicameral legislature of Scotland. Located in the Holyrood, Edinburgh, Holyrood area of the capital ...
nominates a Member to be appointed as First Minister by the
King King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen regnant, queen, which title is also given to the queen consort, consort of a king. *In the context of prehistory, antiquity and contempora ...
. The First Minister then appoints their Ministers (now known as Cabinet Secretaries) and junior Ministers, subject to approval by the Parliament. The First Minister, the Ministers (but not junior ministers), the
Lord Advocate His Majesty's Advocate, known as the Lord Advocate ( gd, Morair Tagraidh, sco, Laird Advocat), is the chief legal officer of the Scottish Government and the Crown in Scotland for both civil and criminal matters that fall within the devolution, ...
and Solicitor General are the Members of the 'Scottish Executive', as set out in the
Scotland Act 1998 The Scotland Act 1998 (c. 46) is an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which legislated for the establishment of the Devolution, devolved Scottish Parliament with tax varying powers and the Scottish Government (then S ...
. They are collectively known as "the Scottish Ministers".


Welsh Government

The Welsh Government and
Senedd The Senedd (; ), officially known as the Welsh Parliament in English language, English and () in Welsh language, Welsh, is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved, unicameral legislature of Wales. A democratically elected body, it makes ...
have more limited powers than those devolved to Scotland, although following the passing of the
Government of Wales Act 2006 The Government of Wales Act 2006 (c 32) is an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that reformed the then-National Assembly for Wales (now the Senedd) and allows further powers to be granted to it more easily. The Act ...
and the
2011 Welsh devolution referendum The Referendum on the law-making powers of the National Assembly for Wales was a non-binding referendum held in Wales on 3 March 2011 on whether the Senedd, National Assembly for Wales should have full law-making powers in the twenty subject are ...
, the Senedd can now legislate in some areas through an Act of Senedd Cymru. The current
First Minister of Wales The first minister of Wales ( cy, prif weinidog Cymru) is the leader of the Welsh Government and keeper of the Welsh Seal. The first minister chairs the Welsh Cabinet and is primarily responsible for the formulation, development and presentation of ...
is
Mark Drakeford Mark Drakeford (born 19 September 1954) is a Welsh politician serving as First Minister of Wales and Welsh Labour, Leader of Welsh Labour since 2018. He previously served in the Welsh Government as Minister for Finance (Wales), Cabinet Secretar ...
of
Welsh Labour Welsh Labour ( cy, Llafur Cymru) is the branch of the United Kingdom Labour Party (UK), Labour Party in Wales and the largest party in modern Politics of Wales, Welsh politics. Welsh Labour and its forebears won a plurality of the Welsh vote at ...
.


Northern Ireland Executive

The Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly have powers closer to those already devolved to Scotland. The Northern Ireland Executive is led by a
diarchy Diarchy (from ancient Greek, Greek , ''di-'', "double", and , ''-arkhía'', "ruled"),Occasionally misspelled ''dyarchy'', as in the ''Encyclopaedia Britannica'' article on the colonial British institution duarchy, or duumvirate (from Latin ', ...
, most recently
First Minister A first minister is any of a variety of leaders of government Cabinet (government), cabinets. The term literally has the same meaning as "prime minister" but is typically chosen to distinguish the office-holder from a superior prime minister. Cur ...
Paul Givan (
Democratic Unionist Party The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is a Unionism in Ireland, unionist, Ulster loyalism, loyalist, and National conservatism, national conservative political party in Northern Ireland. It was founded in 1971 during the Troubles by Ian Paisley, ...
) and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill (
Sinn Féin Sinn Féin ( , ; en, " eOurselves") is an Irish republican Irish republicanism ( ga, poblachtánachas Éireannach) is the political movement for the United Ireland, unity and independence of Ireland under a republic. Irish republicans ...
).


Legislatures

The
British Parliament The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It meets at the Palace of We ...
is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom (i.e., there is
parliamentary sovereignty Parliamentary sovereignty, also called parliamentary supremacy or legislative supremacy, is a concept in the constitutional law of some parliamentary democracies. It holds that the legislative body has absolute sovereignty and is supreme over all ...
), and government is drawn from and answerable to it. Parliament is
bicameral Bicameralism is a type of legislature, one divided into two separate Deliberative assembly, assemblies, chambers, or houses, known as a bicameral legislature. Bicameralism is distinguished from unicameralism, in which all members deliberate and ...
, consisting of the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In both of these countries, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. T ...
and the
House of Lords The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers, is the Bicameralism, upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is by Life peer, appointment, Hereditary peer, heredity or Lords Spiritual, official function. Like the ...
. There are also devolved Scottish and Welsh parliaments and a devolved assembly in Northern Ireland, with varying degrees of legislative authority.


British Parliament


House of Commons

The
Countries of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK), since 1922, comprises three constituent countries and a region: England, Scotland, and Wales (which collectively make up the region of Great Britain), as well as Nor ...
are divided into parliamentary
constituencies An electoral district, also known as an election district, legislative district, voting district, constituency, riding, ward, division, or (election) precinct is a subdivision of a larger state (a country A country is a distinct part o ...
of broadly equal population by the four Boundary Commissions. Each constituency elects a
Member of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative in parliament of the people who live in their electoral district. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, this term refers only to members of the lower house since upper house members o ...
(MP) to the House of Commons at general elections and, if required, at by-elections. As of the 2010 general election there are 650 constituencies (there were 646 before that year's
general election 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-election ...
). At the 2017 general election, of the 650 MPs, all but one - Sylvia Hermon - were elected as representatives of a
political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics, and parties may promote specific political ideology ...
. However, as of the 2019 general election, there are currently 11 independent MPs, who have either chosen to leave their political party or have had the whip withdrawn. In modern times, all prime ministers and leaders of the opposition have been drawn from the Commons, not the Lords.
Alec Douglas-Home Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home, Baron Home of the Hirsel (; 2 July 1903 – 9 October 1995), styled as Lord Dunglass between 1918 and 1951 and being The 14th Earl of Home from 1951 till 1963, was a British Conservative Party (UK), Conse ...
resigned from his peerages days after becoming prime minister in 1963, and the last prime minister before him from the Lords left in 1902 (the
Marquess of Salisbury Marquess of Salisbury is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain The Peerage of Great Britain comprises all extant peerages created in the Kingdom of Great Britain between the Acts of Union 1707 and the Acts of Union 1800. It replaced th ...
). One party usually has a majority in parliament, because of the use of the
First Past the Post electoral system In a first-past-the-post electoral system (FPTP or FPP), formally called single-member plurality voting (SMP) when used in single-member districts or informally choose-one voting in contrast to ranked voting, or score voting, voters cast their ...
, which has been conducive in creating the current
two party system A two-party system is a Politics, political party system in which two major party, major political parties consistently dominate the political landscape. At any point in time, one of the two parties typically holds a majority in the legislature ...
. The monarch normally asks a person commissioned to form a government simply whether it can ''survive'' in the House of Commons, something which majority governments are expected to be able to do. In exceptional circumstances the monarch asks someone to 'form a government' ''with a parliamentary minority'' which in the event of no party having a majority requires the formation of a
coalition government A coalition government is a form of government in which political parties cooperate to form a government. The usual reason for such an arrangement is that no single party has achieved an absolute majority after an election, an atypical outcome in ...
or 'confidence and supply' arrangement. This option is only ever taken at a time of national emergency, such as war-time. It was given in 1916 to
Bonar Law Andrew Bonar Law ( ; 16 September 1858 – 30 October 1923) was a British Conservative Party (UK), Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from October 1922 to May 1923. Law was born in the British colon ...
, and when he declined, to
David Lloyd George David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, (17 January 1863 – 26 March 1945) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1916 to 1922. He was a Liberal Party (United Kingdom), Liberal Party politician from Wales, known for lea ...
and in 1940 to
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman, soldier, and writer who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from 1940 to 1945 Winston Churchill in the Second World War, dur ...
. A government is not formed by a vote of the House of Commons, it is a commission from the monarch. The House of Commons gets its first chance to indicate confidence in the new government when it votes on the
Speech from the Throne A speech from the throne, or throne speech, is an event in certain monarchies in which the reigning sovereign, or a representative thereof, reads a prepared speech to members of the nation's legislature when a Legislative session, session is ...
(the legislative programme proposed by the new government).


House of Lords

The House of Lords was previously a largely
hereditary Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction Asexual reproduction is a type of reproduction that does not involve the fusion ...
aristocratic Aristocracy (, ) is a form of government that places strength in the hands of a small, privileged ruling class, the aristocracy (class), aristocrats. The term derives from the el, αριστοκρατία (), meaning 'rule of the best'. At t ...
chamber, although including
life peer In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It ...
s, and
Lords Spiritual The Lords Spiritual are the bishop A bishop is an ordained clergy member who is entrusted with a position of Episcopal polity, authority and oversight in a religious institution. In Christianity, bishops are normally responsible for the g ...
. It is currently midway through extensive reforms, the most recent of these being enacted in the
House of Lords Act 1999 The House of Lords Act 1999 (c. 34) is an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that Lords Reform, reformed the House of Lords, one of the chambers of Parliament. The Act was given Royal Assent on 11 November 1999. For ...
. The house consists of two very different types of member, the
Lords Temporal The Lords Temporal are secular members of the House of Lords, the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, British Parliament. These can be either life peers or hereditary peers, although the hereditary right to sit in the House of ...
and Lords Spiritual. Lords Temporal include appointed members (life peers with no hereditary right for their descendants to sit in the house) and ninety-two remaining hereditary peers, elected from among, and by, the holders of titles which previously gave a seat in the House of Lords. The Lords Spiritual represent the established
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denominations, Christian church in England and the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church record ...
and number twenty-six: the Five Ancient Sees (
Canterbury Canterbury (, ) is a cathedral city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated in the heart of the City of Canterbury local government district of Kent, England. It lies on the River Stour. The Archbishop of Canterbury The Archbish ...
,
York York is a cathedral city with Roman Britain, Roman origins, sited at the confluence of the rivers River Ouse, Yorkshire, Ouse and River Foss, Foss in North Yorkshire, England. It is the historic county town of Yorkshire. The city has many hist ...
,
London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a estuary dow ...
,
Winchester Winchester is a City status in the United Kingdom, cathedral city in Hampshire, England. The city lies at the heart of the wider City of Winchester, a local government Districts of England, district, at the western end of the South Downs Nation ...
and
Durham Durham most commonly refers to: *Durham, England, a cathedral city and the county town of County Durham *County Durham, an English county *Durham County, North Carolina, a county in North Carolina, United States *Durham, North Carolina, a city in No ...
), and the 21 next-most senior bishops. Secular organisations such as
Humanists UK Humanists UK, known from 1967 until May 2017 as the British Humanist Association (BHA), is a charitable organisation which promotes secular humanism and aims to represent "people who seek to live good lives without religious or superstitious be ...
oppose bishops sitting in the House of Lords. The movement to end the Church of England's status as the official state religion of the United Kingdom is known as
disestablishmentarianism Disestablishmentarianism is a movement to end the Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denominations, Christian church in England and the mother church of the international An ...
. Alternatives include a
secular state A secular state is an idea pertaining to secularity, whereby a State (polity), state is or purports to be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion. A secular state claims to treat all its citizens ...
in which the state purports to be officially neutral in matters of religion. The House of Lords currently acts to review legislation initiated by the House of Commons, with the power to propose amendments, and can exercise a
suspensive veto A veto is a legal power to unilaterally stop an official action. In the most typical case, a president (government title), president or monarch vetoes a bill (law), bill to stop it from becoming statutory law, law. In many countries, veto power ...
. This allows it to delay legislation if it does not approve it for twelve months. However, the use of vetoes is limited by convention and by the operation of the
Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 The Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 are two Acts The Acts of the Apostles ( grc-koi, Πράξεις Ἀποστόλων, ''Práxeis Apostólōn''; la, Actūs Apostolōrum) is the fifth book of the New Testament; it tells of the founding of ...
: the Lords may not veto the "money bills" or major manifesto promises (see
Salisbury convention The Salisbury Convention (officially called the Salisbury Doctrine, the Salisbury-Addison Convention or the Salisbury/Addison Convention) is a constitutional convention in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Norther ...
). Persistent use of the veto can also be overturned by the Commons, under a provision of the
Parliament Act 1911 The Parliament Act 1911 (1 & 2 Geo. 5 c. 13) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the Uni ...
. Often governments will accept changes in legislation in order to avoid both the time delay, and the negative publicity of being seen to clash with the Lords. However the Lords still retain a full veto in acts which would extend the life of parliament beyond the 5-year term limit introduced by the Parliament Act 1911. The
Constitutional Reform Act 2005 The Constitutional Reform Act 2005 (c 4) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United Ki ...
outlined plans for a
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (initialism: UKSC or the acronym: SCOTUK) is the Supreme court, final court of appeal in the United Kingdom for all civil cases, and for criminal cases originating in England, Wales and Northern Ireland ...
to replace the role of the Law Lords. The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom replaced the House of Lords as the final court of appeal on civil cases within the United Kingdom on 1 October 2009.


Devolved national legislatures

Though the British parliament remains the sovereign parliament,
Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo-Scottish border, border with England to the southeast ...
and
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, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the ...
have devolved parliaments and
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, that is #Descriptions, variously described as ...
has an assembly. Each can have its powers broadened, narrowed or changed by an act of the UK Parliament. Both the
Scottish Parliament The Scottish Parliament ( gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba ; sco, Scots Pairlament) is the devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved, unicameralism, unicameral legislature of Scotland. Located in the Holyrood, Edinburgh, Holyrood area of the capital ...
and the Welsh
Senedd The Senedd (; ), officially known as the Welsh Parliament in English language, English and () in Welsh language, Welsh, is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved, unicameral legislature of Wales. A democratically elected body, it makes ...
gained legislative power over some forms of taxation between 2012 and 2016. Their power over economic issues is significantly constrained by an act of parliament passed in 2020. The UK is a
unitary state A unitary state is a sovereign state governed as a single entity in which the central government is the supreme authority. The central government may create (or abolish) administrative division Administrative division, administrative un ...
with a devolved system of government. This contrasts with a
federal Federal or foederal (archaic) may refer to: Politics General *Federal monarchy A federal monarchy, in the strict sense, is a federation of Country, states with a single monarch as overall head of the federation, but retaining Non-sovereign ...
system, in which sub-parliaments or state parliaments and assemblies have a clearly defined constitutional ''right'' to exist and a ''right'' to exercise certain constitutionally guaranteed and defined functions and cannot be unilaterally abolished by acts of the central parliament. All three devolved institutions are elected by
proportional representation Proportional representation (PR) refers to a type of electoral system under which subgroups of an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. The concept applies mainly to geographical (e.g. states, regions) and political divi ...
: the Additional Member System is used in Scotland and Wales, and
Single Transferable Vote Single transferable vote (STV) is a multi-winner electoral system in which voters cast a single vote in the form of a ranked-choice ballot. Voters have the option to rank candidates, and their vote may be transferred according to alternate ...
is used in Northern Ireland.
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. It is separa ...
, therefore, is the only country in the UK not to have its own devolved parliament. However, senior politicians of all main parties have voiced concerns in regard to the
West Lothian Question The West Lothian question, also known as the English question, is a political issue in the United Kingdom. It concerns the question of whether MPs from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales who sit in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, ...
, which is raised where certain policies for England are set by MPs from all four constituent nations whereas similar policies for Scotland or Wales might be decided in the devolved assemblies by legislators from those countries alone. Alternative proposals for English
regional In geography, regions, otherwise referred to as zones, lands or territories, are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and t ...
government have stalled, following a poorly received referendum on devolved government for the
North East of England North East England is one of nine official regions of England at the first level of ITL (UK), ITL for Office for National Statistics, statistical purposes. The region has three current administrative levels below the region level in the regi ...
, which had hitherto been considered the region most in favour of the idea, with the exception of
Cornwall Cornwall (; kw, Kernow ) is a Historic counties of England, historic county and Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county in South West England. It is recognised as one of the Celtic nations, and is the homeland of the Cornish people ...
, where there is widespread support for a
Cornish Assembly A Cornish Assembly ( kw, Senedh Kernow) is a proposed devolved law-making assembly for Cornwall Cornwall (; kw, Kernow ) is a Historic counties of England, historic county and Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county in South ...
, including all five Cornish MPs. England is therefore governed according to the balance of parties across the whole of the United Kingdom. The government has no plans to establish an English parliament or assembly although several pressure groups are calling for one. One of their main arguments is that MPs (and thus voters) from different parts of the UK have inconsistent powers. Currently an MP from Scotland can vote on legislation which affects only England but MPs from England (or indeed Scotland) cannot vote on matters devolved to the Scottish parliament. Indeed, the former Prime Minister
Gordon Brown James Gordon Brown (born 20 February 1951) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 to 2010. He previously served as Chance ...
, who was an MP for a Scottish constituency until the 2015 general election, introduced some laws that only affect England and not his own constituency. This anomaly is known as the
West Lothian question The West Lothian question, also known as the English question, is a political issue in the United Kingdom. It concerns the question of whether MPs from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales who sit in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, ...
. The policy of the British Government in England was to establish elected regional assemblies with no legislative powers. The
London Assembly The London Assembly is a 25-member elected body, part of the Greater London Authority, that scrutinises the activities of the Mayor of London and has the power, with a two-thirds super-majority, to amend the Mayor's annual budget and to rejec ...
was the first of these, established in 2000, following a
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a Direct democracy, direct vote by the Constituency, electorate on a proposal, law, or political issue. This is in contrast to an issue being voted on by a Representative democr ...
in 1998, but further plans were abandoned following rejection of a proposal for an elected assembly in
North East England North East England is one of nine official regions of England at the first level of ITL (UK), ITL for Office for National Statistics, statistical purposes. The region has three current administrative levels below the region level in the regi ...
in a
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a Direct democracy, direct vote by the Constituency, electorate on a proposal, law, or political issue. This is in contrast to an issue being voted on by a Representative democr ...
in 2004. Unelected regional assemblies remain in place in eight
regions of England The regions, formerly known as the government office regions, are the highest tier of sub-national division in England, established in 1994. Between 1994 and 2011, nine regions had officially devolved functions within government. While they no ...
.


Scottish Parliament

The
Scottish Parliament The Scottish Parliament ( gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba ; sco, Scots Pairlament) is the devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved, unicameralism, unicameral legislature of Scotland. Located in the Holyrood, Edinburgh, Holyrood area of the capital ...
is the national,
unicameral Unicameralism (from ''uni''- "one" + Latin ''camera'' "chamber") is a type of legislature, which consists of one house or assembly, that legislates and votes as one. Unicameral legislatures exist when there is no widely perceived need for multic ...
legislature of
Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo-Scottish border, border with England to the southeast ...
, located in the Holyrood area of the capital
Edinburgh Edinburgh ( ; gd, Dùn Èideann ) is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 Council areas of Scotland, council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian (interchangeably Edinburghshire before 1921), it is located in Lothian ...
. The Parliament, informally referred to as "Holyrood" (cf. "
Westminster Westminster is an area of Central London, part of the wider City of Westminster. The area, which extends from the River Thames to Oxford Street, has many Tourism in London, visitor attractions and historic landmarks, including the Palace of W ...
"), is a democratically elected body comprising 129 members who are known as
Members of the Scottish Parliament Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP; gd, Ball Pàrlamaid na h-Alba, BPA; sco, Memmer o the Scots Pairliament, MSP) is the title given to any one of the 129 individuals elected to serve in the Scottish Parliament. Electoral system The addi ...
, or MSPs. Members are elected for four-year terms under the
mixed member proportional representation Mixed-member proportional representation (MMP or MMPR) is a mixed electoral system A mixed electoral system or mixed-member electoral system combines methods of majoritarian representation, majoritarian and proportional representation (PR). ...
system. As a result, 73 MSPs represent individual geographical
constituencies An electoral district, also known as an election district, legislative district, voting district, constituency, riding, ward, division, or (election) precinct is a subdivision of a larger state (a country A country is a distinct part o ...
elected by the plurality ("first past the post") system, with a further 56 returned from eight additional member regions, each electing seven MSPs. The current Scottish Parliament was established by the
Scotland Act 1998 The Scotland Act 1998 (c. 46) is an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which legislated for the establishment of the Devolution, devolved Scottish Parliament with tax varying powers and the Scottish Government (then S ...
and its first meeting as a
devolved Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government A central government is the government that is a controlling power over a unitary state. Another distinct but sovereign political entity is a Federation#Fede ...
legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
was on 12 May 1999. The parliament has the power to pass laws and has limited tax-varying capability. Another of its roles is to hold the Scottish Government to account. The "devolved matters" over which it has responsibility include
education Education is a purposeful activity directed at achieving certain aims, such as transmitting knowledge or fostering skills and character traits. These aims may include the development of understanding, rationality, kindness, and honesty ...
,
health Health, according to the World Health Organization, is "a state of complete physical, Mental health, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity".World Health Organization. (2006)''Constitution of the World H ...
, agriculture, and
justice Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many differing viewpoints and perspective ...
. A degree of domestic authority, and all foreign policy, remains with the British Parliament in
Westminster Westminster is an area of Central London, part of the wider City of Westminster. The area, which extends from the River Thames to Oxford Street, has many Tourism in London, visitor attractions and historic landmarks, including the Palace of W ...
. The public take part in Parliament in a way that is not the case at Westminster through Cross-Party Groups on policy topics which the interested public join and attend meetings of alongside Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs). The resurgence in Celtic language and identity, as well as 'regional' politics and development, has contributed to forces pulling against the unity of the state. This was clearly demonstrated when - although some argue it was influenced by general public disillusionment with Labour - the
Scottish National Party The Scottish National Party (SNP; sco, Scots National Pairty, gd, Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba ) is a Scottish nationalism, Scottish nationalist and social democracy, social democratic list of political parties in Scotland, political party ...
(SNP) became the largest party in the Scottish Parliament by one seat.
Alex Salmond Alexander Elliot Anderson Salmond (; born 31 December 1954) is a Scottish politician and economist who served as First Minister of Scotland from 2007 File:2007 Events Collage.png, From top left, clockwise: Steve Jobs unveils Apple Inc., Appl ...
(leader of SNP between 2004 and 2014) made history becoming the first
First Minister of Scotland The first minister of Scotland ( sco, heid meinister o Scotland; gd, prìomh mhinistear na h-Alba ) is the head of the Scottish Government and keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland The Great Seal of Scot ...
from a party other than Labour following the
2007 Scottish Parliament election The 2007 Scottish Parliament election was held on Thursday 3 May 2007 to elect members to the Scottish Parliament. It was the third general election to the devolved Scottish Parliament since it was created in 1999. 2007 Scottish local elections, ...
. The SNP governed as a minority administration following this election. Nationalism (support for breaking up the UK) has experienced a dramatic rise in popularity in recent years, with a pivotal moment coming at the
2011 Scottish Parliament election The 2011 Scottish Parliament election was held on Thursday, 5 May 2011 to Members of the 4th Scottish Parliament, elect 129 members to the Scottish Parliament. The election delivered the first majority government since the opening of Holyrood, ...
where the SNP capitalised on the collapse of the Liberal Democrat support to improve on their 2007 performance to win the first ever outright majority at Holyrood (despite the voting system being specifically designed to prevent majorities), with Labour remaining the largest opposition party. This election result prompted the leader of the three main opposition parties to resign.
Iain Gray Iain Cumming Gray (born 7 June 1957) is a Scottish politician who served as Leader of the Scottish Labour Party from 2008 to 2011. He was the Member of the Scottish Parliament Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP; gd, Ball Pàrlamaid ...
was succeeded as Scottish Labour leader by
Johann Lamont Johann MacDougall Lamont (; born 11 July 1957) is a Scottish Labour Co-operative politician who served as Leader of the Scottish Labour Party from 2011 to 2014. She was previously a junior Scottish Government, Scottish Executive minister from ...
, Scottish Conservative and Unionist leader, Annabel Goldie was replaced by
Ruth Davidson Ruth Elizabeth Davidson, Baroness Davidson of Lundin Links (born 10 November 1978), is a Scottish politician who served as Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party from 2011 to 2019 and Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party in the Scottis ...
, and
Tavish Scott Tavish Hamilton Scott (born 6 May 1966) is a former Scottish politician. He was the Member of the Scottish Parliament Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP; gd, Ball Pàrlamaid na h-Alba, BPA; sco, Memmer o the Scots Pairliament, MSP) ...
, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats was replaced by
Willie Rennie William Cowan Rennie (born 27 September 1967), commonly known as Willie Rennie, is a Scottish politician who served as the Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats from 2011 File:2011 Events Collage.png, From top left, clockwise: a protester ...
. A major SNP manifesto pledge was to hold a referendum on Scottish Independence, which was duly granted by the British Government and held on 18 September 2014. When the nationalists came to power in 2011, opinion polls placed support for independence at around 31%, but in 2014, 45% voted to leave the union. In the wake of the referendum defeat, membership of the SNP surged to over 100,000, overtaking the Liberal Democrats as the third largest political party in the UK by membership, and in the general election of May 2015 the SNP swept the board and took 56 of the 59 Westminster constituencies in Scotland (far surpassing their previous best of 11 seats in the late 1970s) and winning more than 50% of the Scottish vote. Salmond resigned as
First Minister of Scotland The first minister of Scotland ( sco, heid meinister o Scotland; gd, prìomh mhinistear na h-Alba ) is the head of the Scottish Government and keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland The Great Seal of Scot ...
and leader of the SNP following the country's rejection of independence in September 2014, and was succeeded in both roles by the deputy First Minister and deputy leader of the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon. Also in the wake of the referendum, Lamont stood down as Scottish Labour leader and
Jim Murphy James Francis Murphy (born 23 August 1967) is a Scottish former politician who served as Leader of the Scottish Labour Party The office of Leader of the Scottish Labour Party was established when the Scottish Parliament was formed in 1999 a ...
was elected to replace her. Murphy was the leader until the general election in 2015 in which he lost his seat in Westminster. After the defeat, he resigned his position and her deputy MSP
Kezia Dugdale Kezia Alexandra Ross Dugdale (born 28 August 1981) is a Scottish former politician who served as Leader of the Scottish Labour Party from 2015 Scottish Labour leadership election, 2015 to 2017 Scottish Labour leadership election, 2017. A former ...
became leader of the party and leader of SLP in Holyrood. In 2017 she unexpectedly resigned and was replaced as Scottish Labour leader by the English-born Richard Leonard. He held the post until quitting in January 2021, with
Anas Sarwar Anas Sarwar (born 14 March 1983) is a Scottish politician who has served as Leader of the Scottish Labour Party since 2021 File:2021 collage V2.png, From top left, clockwise: the James Webb Space Telescope was launched in 2021; Protesters i ...
replacing him the following month.


Senedd

The Senedd (formerly the National Assembly for Wales) is the
devolved Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government A central government is the government that is a controlling power over a unitary state. Another distinct but sovereign political entity is a Federation#Fede ...
legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
of
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, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the ...
with power to make legislation and vary taxes. The Parliament comprises 60 members, who are known as
Members of the Senedd A Member of the Senedd (MS; plural: ''MSs''; cy, Aelodau o'r Senedd; , plural:) (AS)., group=la is a representative elected to the Senedd (Welsh Parliament; ). There are sixty members, with forty members chosen to represent individual Senedd c ...
, or MSs ( cy, Aelodau o'r Senedd, ASau). Members are elected for four-year terms under an additional members system, where 40 MSs represent geographical
constituencies An electoral district, also known as an election district, legislative district, voting district, constituency, riding, ward, division, or (election) precinct is a subdivision of a larger state (a country A country is a distinct part o ...
elected by the plurality system, and 20 MSs from five electoral regions using the
d'Hondt method The D'Hondt method, also called the Jefferson method or the greatest divisors method, is a method for allocating seats in parliaments among federal states, or in party-list proportional representation, party-list proportional representation syste ...
of
proportional representation Proportional representation (PR) refers to a type of electoral system under which subgroups of an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. The concept applies mainly to geographical (e.g. states, regions) and political divi ...
. The Welsh Parliament was created by the
Government of Wales Act 1998 The Government of Wales Act 1998 (c. 38) is an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was passed in 1998 by the Labour Party (UK), Labour government to create a Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament, Welsh Assembly, t ...
, which followed a
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a Direct democracy, direct vote by the Constituency, electorate on a proposal, law, or political issue. This is in contrast to an issue being voted on by a Representative democr ...
in 1997. On its creation, most of the powers of the
Welsh Office The Welsh Office ( cy, Swyddfa Gymreig) was a department in the Government of the United Kingdom with responsibilities for Wales. It was established in April 1965 to execute government policy in Wales, and was headed by the Secretary of State f ...
and
Secretary of State for Wales The secretary of state for Wales ( cy, ysgrifennydd gwladol Cymru), also referred to as the Welsh secretary, is a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom, with responsibility for the Offi ...
were transferred to it. The Senedd had no powers to initiate
primary legislation Primary legislation and secondary legislation (the latter also called delegated legislation or subordinate legislation) are two forms of law, created respectively by the legislative and executive branches of governments in representative dem ...
until limited law-making powers were gained through the
Government of Wales Act 2006 The Government of Wales Act 2006 (c 32) is an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that reformed the then-National Assembly for Wales (now the Senedd) and allows further powers to be granted to it more easily. The Act ...
. Its primary law-making powers were enhanced following a Yes vote in the
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a Direct democracy, direct vote by the Constituency, electorate on a proposal, law, or political issue. This is in contrast to an issue being voted on by a Representative democr ...
on 3 March 2011, making it possible for it to legislate without having to consult the British
parliament In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, electorate, making laws, and overseeing ...
, nor the
Secretary of State for Wales The secretary of state for Wales ( cy, ysgrifennydd gwladol Cymru), also referred to as the Welsh secretary, is a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom, with responsibility for the Offi ...
in the 20 areas that are devolved.


Northern Ireland Assembly

The government of Northern Ireland was established as a result of the 1998
Good Friday Agreement The Good Friday Agreement (GFA), or Belfast Agreement ( ga, Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta or ; Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster-Scots: or ), is a pair of agreements signed on 10 April 1998 that ended most of the violence of The Troubles, a po ...
. This created the
Northern Ireland Assembly sco-ulster, Norlin Airlan Assemblie , legislature = Seventh Assembly , coa_pic = File:NI_Assembly.svg , coa_res = 250px , house_type = Unicameral Unicameralism (from ''uni''- "one" + Latin ''came ...
. The Assembly is a
unicameral Unicameralism (from ''uni''- "one" + Latin ''camera'' "chamber") is a type of legislature, which consists of one house or assembly, that legislates and votes as one. Unicameral legislatures exist when there is no widely perceived need for multic ...
body consisting of 90 members elected under the
Single Transferable Vote Single transferable vote (STV) is a multi-winner electoral system in which voters cast a single vote in the form of a ranked-choice ballot. Voters have the option to rank candidates, and their vote may be transferred according to alternate ...
form of
proportional representation Proportional representation (PR) refers to a type of electoral system under which subgroups of an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. The concept applies mainly to geographical (e.g. states, regions) and political divi ...
. The Assembly is based on the principle of power-sharing, in order to ensure that both communities in Northern Ireland, unionist and
nationalist Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of peo ...
, participate in governing the region. It has power to legislate in a wide range of areas and to elect the
Northern Ireland Executive The Northern Ireland Executive is the devolution, devolved government of Northern Ireland, an administrative branch of the legislature – the Northern Ireland Assembly. It is answerable to the assembly and was initially established according ...
(cabinet). It sits at Parliament Buildings at Stormont in
Belfast Belfast ( , ; from ga, Béal Feirste , meaning 'mouth of the sand-bank ford') is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast. It is the 12th-largest city in the United Kingdom ...
. The Assembly has authority to legislate in a field of competences known as "transferred matters". These matters are not explicitly enumerated in the
Northern Ireland Act 1998 __NOTOC__ The Northern Ireland Act 1998 is an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which allowed Her Majesty's Government, Westminster to devolve power to Northern Ireland, after decades of Direct rule over Northern Irel ...
but instead include any competence not explicitly retained by the Parliament at Westminster. Powers reserved by Westminster are divided into "excepted matters", which it retains indefinitely, and "reserved matters", which may be transferred to the competence of the Northern Ireland Assembly at a future date. Health, criminal law and education are "transferred" while royal relations are all "excepted". While the Assembly was in suspension, due to issues involving the main parties and the
Provisional Irish Republican Army The Irish Republican Army (IRA; ), also known as the Provisional Irish Republican Army, and informally as the Provos, was an Irish republicanism, Irish republican paramilitary organisation that sought to end British rule in Northern Ireland, fa ...
(IRA), its legislative powers were exercised by the UK government, which effectively had power to legislate by decree. Laws that would normally be within the competence of the Assembly were passed by the UK government in the form of Orders-in-Council rather than legislative acts. There has been a significant decrease in violence over the last twenty years, though the situation remains tense, with the more hard-line parties such as
Sinn Féin Sinn Féin ( , ; en, " eOurselves") is an Irish republican Irish republicanism ( ga, poblachtánachas Éireannach) is the political movement for the United Ireland, unity and independence of Ireland under a republic. Irish republicans ...
and the
Democratic Unionist Party The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is a Unionism in Ireland, unionist, Ulster loyalism, loyalist, and National conservatism, national conservative political party in Northern Ireland. It was founded in 1971 during the Troubles by Ian Paisley, ...
now holding the most parliamentary seats (see Demographics and politics of Northern Ireland).


Judiciary

The United Kingdom does not have a single legal system due to it being created by the political union of previously independent countries with the terms of the
Treaty of Union The Treaty of Union is the name usually now given to the treaty which led to the creation of the new state of kingdom of Great Britain, Great Britain, stating that the Kingdom of England (which already included Wales) and the Kingdom of Sco ...
guaranteeing the continued existence of Scotland's separate legal system. Today the UK has three distinct systems of law:
English law English law is the common law list of national legal systems, legal system of England and Wales, comprising mainly English criminal law, criminal law and Civil law (common law), civil law, each branch having its own Courts of England and Wales, ...
, Northern Ireland law and
Scots law Scots law () is the List of country legal systems, legal system of Scotland. It is a hybrid or mixed legal system containing Civil law (legal system), civil law and common law elements, that traces its roots to a number of different historical s ...
. Recent constitutional changes saw a new
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (initialism: UKSC or the acronym: SCOTUK) is the Supreme court, final court of appeal in the United Kingdom for all civil cases, and for criminal cases originating in England, Wales and Northern Ireland ...
come into being in October 2009 that took on the appeal functions of the Appellate Committee of the
House of Lords The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers, is the Bicameralism, upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is by Life peer, appointment, Hereditary peer, heredity or Lords Spiritual, official function. Like the ...
. The
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (United Kingdom), Privy Council (JCPC) is the Supreme court, highest court of appeal for the Crown Dependencies, the British Overseas Territories, some Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth countries ...
, comprising the same members as the Supreme Court, is the highest court of appeal for several independent Commonwealth countries, the UK overseas territories, and the British crown dependencies.


England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Both English law, which applies in
England and Wales England and Wales () is one of the three legal jurisdictions of the United Kingdom. It covers the constituent countries England and Wales and was formed by the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. The substantive law of the jurisdiction is Engli ...
, and Northern Ireland law are based on
common-law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent, judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions."The common law is not a brooding omnipresen ...
principles. The essence of common-law is that law is made by
judge A judge is a person who wiktionary:preside, presides over court proceedings, either alone or as a part of a Judicial panel, panel of judges. A judge hears all the witnesses and any other Evidence (law), evidence presented by the barristers or s ...
s sitting in courts, applying their common sense and knowledge of
legal precedent A precedent is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case that is either binding on or persuasive for a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjud ...
(''
stare decisis A precedent is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case that is either binding on or persuasive for a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjud ...
'') to the facts before them. The
Courts of England and Wales The courts of England and Wales, supported administratively by His Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service, are the Civil law (common law), civil and Criminal law, criminal courts responsible for the administration of justice in England and Wales ...
are headed by the Senior Courts of England and Wales, consisting of the
Court of Appeal A court of appeals, also called a court of appeal, appellate court, appeal court, court of second instance or second instance court, is any court of law that is empowered to hear an appeal of a trial court or other lower tribunal. In much of t ...
, the
High Court of Justice The High Court of Justice in London, known properly as His Majesty's High Court of Justice in England, together with the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, Court of Appeal and the Crown Court, are the Courts of England and Wales, Senior Cou ...
(for civil cases) and the
Crown Court The Crown Court is the court of first instance of England and Wales responsible for hearing all Indictable offence, indictable offences, some Hybrid offence, either way offences and appeals lied to it by the Magistrates' court, magistrates' court ...
(for criminal cases). The
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (initialism: UKSC or the acronym: SCOTUK) is the Supreme court, final court of appeal in the United Kingdom for all civil cases, and for criminal cases originating in England, Wales and Northern Ireland ...
is the highest court in the land for both criminal and civil cases in
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. It is separa ...
,
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, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the ...
, and
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, that is #Descriptions, variously described as ...
and any decision it makes is binding on every other court in the hierarchy.


Scotland

Scots law, a hybrid system based on both common-law and civil-law principles, applies in
Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo-Scottish border, border with England to the southeast ...
. The chief courts are the
Court of Session The Court of Session is the supreme civil court of Scotland and constitutes part of the College of Justice; the supreme criminal court of Scotland is the High Court of Justiciary. The Court of Session sits in Parliament House in Edinbur ...
, for civil cases, and the
High Court of Justiciary The High Court of Justiciary is the supreme criminal court in Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainl ...
, for criminal cases. The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom serves as the highest court of appeal for civil cases under Scots law. Sheriff courts deal with most civil and criminal cases including conducting criminal trials with a jury, known that as Sheriff solemn Court, or with a Sheriff and no jury, known as (Sheriff summary Court). The Sheriff courts provide a local court service with 49 Sheriff courts organised across six
Sheriffdom A sheriffdom is a judicial district in Scotland, led by a sheriff principal. Since 1 January 1975, there have been six sheriffdoms. Each sheriffdom is divided into a series of sheriff court districts, and each sheriff court is presided over by a re ...
s.


Electoral systems

Various electoral systems are used in the UK: * The
first-past-the-post In a first-past-the-post electoral system (FPTP or FPP), formally called single-member plurality voting (SMP) when used in single-member districts or informally choose-one voting in contrast to ranked voting, or score voting, voters cast their ...
system is used for
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-election ...
to the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In both of these countries, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. T ...
, and also for some
local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state. This particular usage of the word government refers specifically to a level of administration that is both geographically-loca ...
elections in
England and Wales England and Wales () is one of the three legal jurisdictions of the United Kingdom. It covers the constituent countries England and Wales and was formed by the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. The substantive law of the jurisdiction is Engli ...
. the first-past-the-post system elects members to parliament through individual elections in each of the 650 constituencies in the UK. To be elected to the House of Commons candidates require the biggest share of votes. Each constituency can only elect one member to parliament, voters are given a ballot paper with a list of candidates of which they can select one. * The
plurality-at-large voting Plurality block voting, also known as plurality-at-large voting, block vote or block voting (BV) is a non-Proportional representation, proportional voting system for electing representatives in Multiwinner voting, multi-winner elections. Each vo ...
(the bloc vote) is also used for some local government elections in England and Wales. the plurality system is a simple way of election, the winner requires only to gain more votes than any other candidate. * The additional member system is used for elections to the
Scottish Parliament The Scottish Parliament ( gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba ; sco, Scots Pairlament) is the devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved, unicameralism, unicameral legislature of Scotland. Located in the Holyrood, Edinburgh, Holyrood area of the capital ...
,
Senedd The Senedd (; ), officially known as the Welsh Parliament in English language, English and () in Welsh language, Welsh, is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved, unicameral legislature of Wales. A democratically elected body, it makes ...
and
London Assembly The London Assembly is a 25-member elected body, part of the Greater London Authority, that scrutinises the activities of the Mayor of London and has the power, with a two-thirds super-majority, to amend the Mayor's annual budget and to rejec ...
. The system is implemented differently in each of the three locations. the additional member's system used when electing members of parliament is a combination of the first-past-the-post system and the party-list system. voters are given two ballots, on one is the candidates running to be elected as an MP, the other ballot has a list of parties that are running for a seat in parliament, voters choose their preferred party. * The
single transferable vote Single transferable vote (STV) is a multi-winner electoral system in which voters cast a single vote in the form of a ranked-choice ballot. Voters have the option to rank candidates, and their vote may be transferred according to alternate ...
system is used in
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, that is #Descriptions, variously described as ...
to elect the
Northern Ireland Assembly sco-ulster, Norlin Airlan Assemblie , legislature = Seventh Assembly , coa_pic = File:NI_Assembly.svg , coa_res = 250px , house_type = Unicameral Unicameralism (from ''uni''- "one" + Latin ''came ...
, local councils, and
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. When the European Parliament (then known as the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Commu ...
, and in Scotland to elect local councils. the single transferrable vote is a form of proportional representation, the strength of a party in parliament is equal to the number of votes they received during a general election. Areas elect a team of representatives rather than the traditional one, they also represent a larger area. voters rank their choices, they can rank as many as they choose since parties will run more than one candidate in each area. To be elected candidates have to receive a specific number of votes, the quota, which is decided based on the number of vacancies and the number of people that can vote. * The alternative vote system is used for by-elections in Scottish local councils. the alternative vote system is designed to deal with vote splitting. under the first-past-the-post system, a candidate can win even when the majority voted against them if this majority is split over several other candidates. voters rank the candidates from their preferred to their least preferred, if a candidate is the first choice for more than half of the votes cast they win. but when there is no majority the loser is removed and the second choice becomes the first, this process is repeated until one candidate receives the majority. * The
D'Hondt method The D'Hondt method, also called the Jefferson method or the greatest divisors method, is a method for allocating seats in parliaments among federal states, or in party-list proportional representation, party-list proportional representation syste ...
of
party-list proportional representation Party-list proportional representation (list-PR) is a subset of proportional representation electoral systems in which multiple candidates are elected (e.g., elections to parliament) through their position on an electoral list. They can also be use ...
was used for
European Parliament elections Elections to the European Parliament take place every five years by Universal suffrage, universal adult suffrage; with more than 400 million people eligible to vote, they are considered the second largest democratic elections in the world af ...
in England, Scotland and Wales between
1999 File:1999 Events Collage.png, From left, clockwise: The funeral procession of King Hussein of Jordan Hussein bin Talal ( ar, الحسين بن طلال, ''Al-Ḥusayn ibn Ṭalāl''; 14 November 1935 – 7 February 1999) was King of Jordan ...
and
2019 File:2019 collage v1.png, From top left, clockwise: Hong Kong protests turn to widespread riots and civil disobedience; House of Representatives votes to adopt articles of impeachment against Donald Trump; CRISPR gene editing first used to experim ...
(the last such election before '
Brexit Brexit (; a portmanteau of "British exit") was the Withdrawal from the European Union, withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) at 23:00 Greenwich Mean Time, GMT on 31 January 2020 (00:00 1 February 2020 Central Eur ...
'). * The supplementary vote is used to elect directly elected mayors in England, including the
mayor of London The mayor of London is the chief executive of the Greater London Authority. The role was created in 2000 after the 1998 Greater London Authority referendum, Greater London devolution referendum in 1998, and was the first Directly elected may ...
. The use of the first-past-the-post to elect members of Parliament is unusual among European nations. The use of the system means that when three or more candidates receive a significant share of the vote, MPs are often elected from individual constituencies with a plurality (receiving more votes than any other candidate), but not an
absolute majority 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 simple majority. Supermajority ru ...
(50 per cent plus one vote). Elections and political parties in the United Kingdom are affected by Duverger's law, the
political science Political science is the science, scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the analysis of politics, political activities, political thought, political behavior, and associated c ...
principle A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a Legal rule, rule that has to be or usually is to be followed. It can be desirably followed, or it can be an inevitable consequence of something, suc ...
which states that
plurality voting system Plurality voting refers to electoral systems in which a candidate, or candidates, who poll more than any other counterpart (that is, receive a plurality (voting), plurality), are elected. In systems based on single-member districts, it elects j ...
s, such as first-past-the-post, tend to lead to the development of
two-party system A two-party system is a Politics, political party system in which two major party, major political parties consistently dominate the political landscape. At any point in time, one of the two parties typically holds a majority in the legislature ...
s. The UK, like several other states, has sometimes been called a "two-and-a-half" party system, because parliamentary politics is dominated by the Labour Party and Conservative Party, while the Liberal Democrats, used to, hold a significant number of seats (but still substantially less than Labour and the Conservatives), and several small parties (some of them regional or
nationalist Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of peo ...
) trailing far behind in the number of seats, although this changed in the 2015 general election. In the last few general elections, voter mandates for Westminster in the 30–40% ranges have been swung into 60% parliamentary majorities. No single party has won a majority of the popular vote since the Third National Government of
Stanley Baldwin Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, (3 August 186714 December 1947) was a British Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party politician who dominated the government of the Interwar Britain, United Kingdom between the world wars, serv ...
in
1935 Events January * January 7 – Italian premier Benito Mussolini and French Foreign Minister Pierre Laval conclude Franco-Italian Agreement of 1935, an agreement, in which each power agrees not to oppose the other's colonial claims. * ...
. On two occasions since
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
1951 Events January * January 4 – Korean War: Third Battle of Seoul – Chinese and North Korean forces capture Seoul for the second time (having lost the Second Battle of Seoul in September 1950). * January 9 – The Government of the United K ...
and February 1974 – a party that came in second in the popular vote came out with the larger number of seats.
Electoral reform Electoral reform is a change in electoral systems which alters how public desires are expressed in election results. That can include reforms of: * Voting systems, such as proportional representation, a two-round system (runoff voting), instant-ru ...
for parliamentary elections have been proposed many times. The Jenkins Commission report in October 1998 suggested implementing the Alternative Vote Top-up (also called alternative vote plus or AV+) in parliamentary elections. Under this proposal, most MPs would be directly elected from constituencies by the alternative vote, with a number of additional members elected from "top-up lists." However, no action was taken by the Labour government at the time. There are several groups in the UK campaigning for electoral reform, including the
Electoral Reform Society The Electoral Reform Society (ERS) is an Advocacy group, independent campaigning organisation based in the United Kingdom which promotes electoral reform. It seeks to replace first-past-the-post voting with proportional representation, advocati ...
, Make Votes Count Coalition and Fairshare. The boundary commission for England has also suggested in its 2023 boundary review that constituency lines should be redrawn to allow constituencies to have a similar number of residents. The 2010 general election resulted in a
hung parliament A hung parliament is a term used in legislatures primarily under the Westminster system to describe a situation in which no single political party or pre-existing coalition (also known as an alliance or bloc) has an Majority, absolute majority o ...
(no single party being able to command a majority in the House of Commons). This was only the second general election since
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
to return a hung parliament, the first being the February 1974 election. The Conservatives gained the most seats (ending 13 years of Labour government) and the largest percentage of the popular vote but fell 20 seats short of a majority. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats entered into a new coalition government, headed by
David Cameron David William Donald Cameron (born 9 October 1966) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016 and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 2005 to ...
. Under the terms of the
coalition agreement A coalition government is a form of government in which political parties cooperate to form a government. The usual reason for such an arrangement is that no single party has achieved an absolute majority after an election An election i ...
, the government committed itself to hold a referendum in May 2011 on whether to change parliamentary elections from first-past-the-post to AV. Electoral reform was a major priority for the Liberal Democrats, who favour
proportional representation Proportional representation (PR) refers to a type of electoral system under which subgroups of an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. The concept applies mainly to geographical (e.g. states, regions) and political divi ...
but were able to negotiate only a referendum on AV (the alternative vote system is not a form of proportional representation) with the Conservatives. The coalition partners campaigned on opposite sides, with the Liberal Democrats supporting AV and the Conservatives opposing it. The referendum resulted in the Conservative's favour and the first-past-the-post system was maintained.


Political parties

Since the 1920s the two main political parties in the UK, in terms of the number of seats in the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In both of these countries, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. T ...
, are the Conservative and Unionist Party and the Labour Party. The
Scottish National Party The Scottish National Party (SNP; sco, Scots National Pairty, gd, Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba ) is a Scottish nationalism, Scottish nationalist and social democracy, social democratic list of political parties in Scotland, political party ...
has the second largest party membership, but a smaller number of MPs as it only fields candidates for constituencies in Scotland. The modern day Conservative Party was founded in 1834 and is an outgrowth of the
Tory A Tory () is a person who holds a political philosophy known as Toryism, based on a British version of Traditionalist conservatism, traditionalism and conservatism, which upholds the supremacy of social order as it has evolved in the English cul ...
movement or party, which began in 1678. Today it is still colloquially referred to as the Tory Party and members/supporters are referred to as ''Tories''. The Liberal Democrats (or "Lib Dems") were founded in 1988 by an amalgamation of the
Liberal Party The Liberal Party is any of many political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics ...
and the Social Democratic Party (SDP), a right-wing Labour breakaway movement formed in 1981. The Liberals and SDP had contested elections together as the
SDP–Liberal Alliance The SDP–Liberal Alliance was a centrist Centrism is a political outlook or position involving acceptance or support of a balance of social equality and a degree of social hierarchy while opposing political changes that would result in a si ...
for seven years previously. The modern Liberal Party had been founded in 1859 as an outgrowth of the Whig movement or party (which began at the same time as the Tory Party and was its historical rival) as well as the
Radical Radical may refer to: Politics and ideology Politics *Radical politics, the political intent of fundamental societal change *Radicalism (historical), the Radical Movement that began in late 18th century Britain and spread to continental Europe and ...
and
Peelite The Peelites were a breakaway dissident political faction of the British Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party from 1846 to 1859. Initially led by Robert Peel, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister and Conservative ...
tendencies. The Liberal Party was one of the two dominant parties (along with the Conservatives) from its founding until the 1920s, when it rapidly declined in popularity, and was supplanted on the
left Left may refer to: Music * Left (Hope of the States album), ''Left'' (Hope of the States album), 2006 * Left (Monkey House album), ''Left'' (Monkey House album), 2016 * "Left", a song by Nickelback from the album ''Curb (album), Curb'', 1996 Di ...
by the Labour Party, which was founded in 1900 and formed its first minority government in 1924. Since that time, the Labour and Conservative parties have been dominant, with the Liberals (later Liberal Democrats) being the third-largest party until
2015 File:2015 Events Collage new.png, From top left, clockwise: Civil service in remembrance of November 2015 Paris attacks; Germanwings Flight 9525 was purposely crashed into the French Alps; the rubble of residences in Kathmandu following the April ...
, when they lost 49 of their 57 seats, they now hold 11 seats. They lost 10 seats in the 2019 general election. Currently the
Scottish National Party The Scottish National Party (SNP; sco, Scots National Pairty, gd, Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba ) is a Scottish nationalism, Scottish nationalist and social democracy, social democratic list of political parties in Scotland, political party ...
is the third largest party and have been since the 2015 General Election when they gained 56 seats. Founded in 1934, the SNP advocates
Scottish independence Scottish independence ( gd, Neo-eisimeileachd na h-Alba; sco, Scots unthirldom) is the idea of Scotland as a sovereign state, independent from the United Kingdom, and refers to the political movement that is campaigning to bring it about. S ...
and has had continuous representation in Parliament since 1967. The SNP currently leads a
minority government A minority government, minority cabinet, minority administration, or a minority parliament is a government and cabinet formed in a parliamentary system when a political party or coalition of parties does not have a majority of overall seats ...
in the
Scottish Parliament The Scottish Parliament ( gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba ; sco, Scots Pairlament) is the devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved, unicameralism, unicameral legislature of Scotland. Located in the Holyrood, Edinburgh, Holyrood area of the capital ...
, and has 48 MPs in the House of Commons after the 2019 general election. Minor parties also hold seats in parliament: *
Plaid Cymru Plaid Cymru ( ; ; officially Plaid Cymru – the Party of Wales, often referred to simply as Plaid) is a Centre-left politics, centre-left to Left-wing politics, left-wing, Welsh nationalism, Welsh nationalist list of political parties in Wales ...
, the
Welsh nationalist Welsh nationalism ( cy, Cenedlaetholdeb Cymreig) emphasises and celebrates the distinctiveness of Culture of Wales, Welsh culture and Wales as a nation or country. Welsh nationalism may also include calls for further autonomy or self determinati ...
party, has had continuous representation in Parliament since 1974, and currently hold three of the 40 Welsh seats (with a fourth member which the whip revoked). Plaid has had the second highest number of seats in the
Senedd The Senedd (; ), officially known as the Welsh Parliament in English language, English and () in Welsh language, Welsh, is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved, unicameral legislature of Wales. A democratically elected body, it makes ...
, after
Welsh Labour Welsh Labour ( cy, Llafur Cymru) is the branch of the United Kingdom Labour Party (UK), Labour Party in Wales and the largest party in modern Politics of Wales, Welsh politics. Welsh Labour and its forebears won a plurality of the Welsh vote at ...
for most of the period since devolution in 1999, but currently has the same number (10) as the
Welsh Conservatives The Welsh Conservatives ( cy, Ceidwadwyr Cymreig) is the branch of the United Kingdom Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party that operates in Wales. At United Kingdom general elections, Westminster elections, it is the second most popular ...
. They currently have three MPs. *In
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, that is #Descriptions, variously described as ...
, all 18 MPs are from parties that only contest elections in Northern Ireland (except for
Sinn Féin Sinn Féin ( , ; en, " eOurselves") is an Irish republican Irish republicanism ( ga, poblachtánachas Éireannach) is the political movement for the United Ireland, unity and independence of Ireland under a republic. Irish republicans ...
, which contests elections in both Northern Ireland and the
Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland (), is a country in north-western Europe consisting of 26 of the 32 Counties of Ireland, counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, on the eastern ...
). The unionist
Democratic Unionist Party The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is a Unionism in Ireland, unionist, Ulster loyalism, loyalist, and National conservatism, national conservative political party in Northern Ireland. It was founded in 1971 during the Troubles by Ian Paisley, ...
(DUP) (who currently hold eight seats), the republican Sinn Féin (who currently hold seven seats), the
nationalist Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of peo ...
Social Democratic and Labour Party The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) ( ga, Páirtí Sóisialta Daonlathach an Lucht Oibre) is a social-democratic and Irish nationalist political party in Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, ...
(SDLP) (who currently hold two), and the non-sectarian
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland An alliance is a relationship among people, groups, or states that have joined together for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out among them. Members of an alliance are called ...
(who currently hold one seat) all gained seats in Parliament at the 2010 general election, the Alliance Party for the first time. Sinn Féin has a policy of
abstentionism Abstentionism is standing for election to a deliberative assembly while refusing to take up any seats won or otherwise participate in the assembly's business. Abstentionism differs from an election boycott in that abstentionists participate in ...
and their MPs refuse to take their seats in Parliament, and have done so since 1918. The DUP, Sinn Féin, the
Ulster Unionist Party The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) is a Unionism in Ireland, unionist political party in Northern Ireland. The party was founded in 1905, emerging from the Irish Unionist Alliance in Ulster. Under Edward Carson, it led unionist opposition to the I ...
(UUP), and the SDLP are considered the four major political parties in Northern Ireland, holding the most seats in the
Northern Ireland Assembly sco-ulster, Norlin Airlan Assemblie , legislature = Seventh Assembly , coa_pic = File:NI_Assembly.svg , coa_res = 250px , house_type = Unicameral Unicameralism (from ''uni''- "one" + Latin ''came ...
. *The
Alba Party The Alba Party is a Scottish nationalism, Scottish nationalist and Scottish independence, pro-independence political party in Scotland. The party was founded in February 2021, with Alex Salmond (a former First Minister of Scotland, first ministe ...
, led by former SNP leader
Alex Salmond Alexander Elliot Anderson Salmond (; born 31 December 1954) is a Scottish politician and economist who served as First Minister of Scotland from 2007 File:2007 Events Collage.png, From top left, clockwise: Steve Jobs unveils Apple Inc., Appl ...
, has two seats. Both of their MPs,
Kenny MacAskill Kenneth Wright MacAskill (born 28 April 1958) is a Scottish politician who has been Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) for East Lothian (UK Parliament constituency), East Lothian since 2019 United Kingdom general e ...
and
Neale Hanvey James Neale Hanvey (born 28 December 1964) is a Scottish politician serving as the Leader of the Alba Party in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons since 2021, and the Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of ...
, were elected for the SNP at the 2019 election, but defected to Alba in March 2021. * The Green Party of England and Wales holds one seat, which it has held since 2010. *There are also
Independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsylvania, area of the United States during the early 1930s * Independen ...
MPs. One is the
Speaker Speaker may refer to: Society and politics * Speaker (politics) The speaker of a deliberative assembly, especially a Legislature, legislative body, is its chairperson, presiding officer, or the chair. The title was first used in 1377 in Englan ...
,
Lindsay Hoyle Sir Lindsay Harvey Hoyle (born 10 June 1957)'HOYLE, Hon. Lindsay (Harvey)', Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2013; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2012 ; online edn, Nov 201 Retrieved 31 December 20 ...
who revoked his Labour affiliation after the 2019 Speaker election. Others have had their whip revoked or have resigned from their political party. At the most recent general election in 2019, the Conservatives, gained a majority after two years of being a minority government.


Conservatives (Tories)

The Conservative Party won the largest number of seats at the 2015 general election, returning 330 MPs, enough for an overall majority, and went on to form the first Conservative majority government since the 1992 general election. The Conservatives won only 318 seats at the 2017 general election, but went on to form a
confidence and supply In a parliamentary system, parliamentary democracy based on the Westminster system, confidence and supply are required for a ruling party, ruling cabinet to retain power in the lower house. A confidence-and-supply agreement is one whereby a pa ...
deal with the
Democratic Unionist Party The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is a Unionism in Ireland, unionist, Ulster loyalism, loyalist, and National conservatism, national conservative political party in Northern Ireland. It was founded in 1971 during the Troubles by Ian Paisley, ...
(DUP) who got 10 seats in the House of Commons, allowing the Conservative Party to remain in government. The Conservatives won 365 seats at the 2019 general election and had a majority, forming the first majority government since 2015–17. The Conservative Party can trace its origin back to 1662, with the Court Party and the Country Party being formed in the aftermath of the
English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists led by Charles I ("Cavaliers"), mainly over the manner of Kingdom of England, England's governanc ...
. The Court Party soon became known as the
Tories A Tory () is a person who holds a political philosophy known as Toryism, based on a British version of Traditionalist conservatism, traditionalism and conservatism, which upholds the supremacy of social order as it has evolved in the English cul ...
, a name that has stuck despite the official name being 'Conservative'. The term "Tory" originates from the
Exclusion Crisis The Exclusion Crisis ran from 1679 until 1681 in the reign of King Charles II of England, Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland. Three Exclusion bills sought to exclude the King's brother and heir presumptive, James II of England, James, Du ...
of 1678-1681 - the Whigs were those who supported the exclusion of the Roman Catholic
Duke of York Duke of York is a title of nobility in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. Since the 15th century, it has, when granted, usually been given to the second son of List of English monarchs, English (later List of British monarchs, British) monarchs. ...
from the thrones of England, Ireland and Scotland, and the Tories were those who opposed it. Both names were originally insults: a " whiggamore" was a horse drover (See Whiggamore Raid), and a "tory" ('' Tóraidhe'') was an
Irish Irish may refer to: Common meanings * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, in Northwestern Europe ...
term for an outlaw, later applied to Irish Confederates and Irish Royalists, during the
Wars of the Three Kingdoms The Wars of the Three Kingdoms were a series of related conflicts fought between 1639 and 1653 in the kingdoms of Kingdom of England, England, Kingdom of Scotland, Scotland and Kingdom of Ireland, Ireland, then separate entities united in a pers ...
.Oxford English Dictionary (Second Edition 1989). Whig n.2, whiggamore, and tory 1. a. Generally, the Tories were associated with lesser gentry and the Church of England, while Whigs were more associated with trade, money, larger land holders (or "land magnates"), expansion and tolerance of Catholicism. The Rochdale Radicals were a group of more extreme reformists who were also heavily involved in the cooperative movement. They sought to bring about a more equal society, and are considered by modern standards to be
left-wing Left-wing politics describes the range of Ideology#Political%20ideologies, political ideologies that support and seek to achieve social equality and egalitarianism, often in opposition to social hierarchy. Left-wing politics typically in ...
. After becoming associated with repression of popular discontent in the years after 1815, the Tories underwent a fundamental transformation under the influence of
Robert Peel Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet, (5 February 1788 – 2 July 1850) was a British Conservative Party (UK), Conservative statesman who served twice as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1834–1835 and 1841–1846) simultaneously serving as Cha ...
, himself an industrialist rather than a landowner, who in his 1834 "
Tamworth Manifesto The Tamworth Manifesto was a political manifesto issued by Sir Robert Peel in 1834 in Tamworth, which is widely credited by historians as having laid down the principles upon which the modern British Conservative Party is based. In November 1834 ...
" outlined a new "Conservative" philosophy of reforming ills while conserving the good. Though Peel's supporters subsequently split from their colleagues over the issue of free trade in 1846, ultimately joining the Whigs and the Radicals to form what would become the
Liberal Party The Liberal Party is any of many political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics ...
, Peel's version of the party's underlying outlook was retained by the remaining Tories, who adopted his label of Conservative as the official name of their party. The Conservatives were in government for eighteen years between 1979 and 1997, under the leadership of the first-ever female Prime Minister,
Margaret Thatcher Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher (; 13 October 19258 April 2013) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. S ...
, and former
Chancellor of the Exchequer The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to chancellor, is a senior minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and head of HM Treasury, His Majesty's Treasury. As one of the four Great Offices of State, the Ch ...
John Major Sir John Major (born 29 March 1943) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990 to 1997, and as Member of Parliament ...
(1990–97). Their landslide defeat at the 1997 general election saw the Conservative Party lose over half their seats gained in 1992, and saw the party re-align with public perceptions of them. The Conservatives lost all their seats in both Scotland and Wales, and was their worst defeat since
1906 Events January–February * January 12 – Persian Constitutional Revolution: A nationalistic coalition of merchants, religious leaders and intellectuals in Persia forces the shah Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar to grant a constitution, a ...
. In 2008, the Conservative Party formed a pact with the
Ulster Unionist Party The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) is a Unionism in Ireland, unionist political party in Northern Ireland. The party was founded in 1905, emerging from the Irish Unionist Alliance in Ulster. Under Edward Carson, it led unionist opposition to the I ...
(UUP) to select joint candidates for European and House of Commons elections; this angered the DUP as by splitting the Unionist vote, republican parties will be elected in some areas. After thirteen years in opposition, the Conservatives returned to power as part of a coalition agreement with the Liberal Democrats in 2010, going on to form a majority government in 2015.
David Cameron David William Donald Cameron (born 9 October 1966) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016 and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 2005 to ...
resigned as Prime Minister in July 2016, which resulted in the appointment of the country's second female Prime Minister,
Theresa May Theresa Mary May, Lady May (; née Brasier; born 1 October 1956) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 2016 to 2019. She pre ...
. The Conservative Party is the only party in the history of the United Kingdom to have been governed by a female Prime Minister. In 2019,
Boris Johnson Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (; born 19 June 1964) is a British politician, writer and journalist who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 20 ...
was appointed Prime Minister after
Theresa May Theresa Mary May, Lady May (; née Brasier; born 1 October 1956) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 2016 to 2019. She pre ...
stepped down during Brexit negotiations. At one point during 2019 his party had a parliamentary minority for a short period after he ejected a large number of party members, of which some were subsequently allowed to return for the 2019 General election. After the election the Tories returned with a majority government under Johnson. Historically, the party has been the mainland party most pre-occupied by
British unionism Unionism in the United Kingdom, also referred to as British unionism, is a political ideology favouring the continued unity of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as one sovereign state, the United Kingdom, United Kingdom of Great B ...
, as attested to by the party's full name, the Conservative and Unionist Party. This resulted in the merger between the Conservatives and
Joseph Chamberlain Joseph Chamberlain (8 July 1836 – 2 July 1914) was a British statesman who was first a radical Liberal Party (UK), Liberal, then a Liberal Unionist after opposing home rule for Ireland, and eventually served as a leading New Imperialism, i ...
's
Liberal Unionist Party The Liberal Unionist Party was a British political party that was formed in 1886 by a faction that broke away from the Liberal Party (UK), Liberal Party. Led by Spencer Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire, Lord Hartington (later the Duke of Devonsh ...
, composed of former Liberals who opposed
Irish home rule The Irish Home Rule movement was a movement that campaigned for Devolution, self-government (or "home rule") for Ireland within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It was the dominant political movement of Irish nationalism from 1 ...
. The unionist tendency is still in evidence today, manifesting sometimes as a scepticism or opposition to devolution, firm support for the continued existence of the United Kingdom in the face of movements advocating independence from the UK, and a historic link with the cultural unionism of Northern Ireland. In November 2022, Tory MP
Bob Stewart (politician) Colonel (United Kingdom), Colonel Robert Alexander Stewart, (born 7 July 1949) is a British politician and Member of Parliament (MP) for Beckenham (UK Parliament constituency), Beckenham since 2010. A member of the Conservative Party (UK), Co ...
was in
Bahrain Bahrain ( ; ; ar, البحرين, al-Bahrayn, locally ), officially the Kingdom of Bahrain, ' is an island country in Western Asia. It is situated on the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Persian Gulf, and comprises a small archipelago made u ...
when at the end of his address he declared “God save the King of Bahrain” followed by “God save the King of England”. Allegedly, the MP received £10,000 worth of gifts from the Bahraini government in the form of hospitality and travel to the Gulf nation. Apparently, this wasn’t the first time for the Tory MP to have spoken in defense of a despotic regime like Bahrain after being paid to travel to the country on multiple occasions along with thousands of pounds’ worth of spending. According to the register of interests Stewart flew to Bahrain in November 2021 and November 2019 with flights, meals and accommodation paid for by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bahrain. Bob remained unavailable when reached out for comment on the matter.


Labour

The Labour Party won the second-largest number of seats in the House of Commons at the 2019 general election, with 202 seats overall, 60 seats less than 2017. The history of the Labour Party goes back to 1900, when a Labour Representation Committee was established and changed its name to "The Labour Party" in 1906. After the
First World War World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
, this led to the demise of the Liberal Party as the main reformist force in British politics. The existence of the Labour Party on the left-wing of British politics led to a slow waning of energy from the Liberal Party, which has consequently assumed third place in national politics. After performing poorly at the general elections of 1922, 1923 and 1924, the Liberal Party was superseded by the Labour Party as being the party of the left. Following two brief spells in minority governments in 1924 and 1929–1931, the Labour Party won a landslide victory after
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
at the 1945 "
khaki election In Westminster system, Westminster systems of government, a khaki election is any national election which is heavily influenced by wartime or postwar sentiment. In the 1900 United Kingdom general election, British general election of 1900, the Co ...
"; winning a majority for the first time ever. Throughout the rest of the twentieth century, Labour governments alternated with Conservative governments. The Labour Party suffered the "wilderness years" of 1951–1964 (three consecutive general election defeats) and 1979–1997 (four consecutive general election defeats). During this second period,
Margaret Thatcher Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher (; 13 October 19258 April 2013) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. S ...
, who became Leader of the Conservative Party in 1975, made a fundamental change to Conservative policies, turning the Conservative Party into an
economically liberal Economic liberalism is a List of political ideologies, political and economic ideology that supports a market economy based on individualism and private property in the means of production. Adam Smith is considered one of the primary initial wr ...
party. At the 1979 general election, she defeated
James Callaghan Leonard James Callaghan, Baron Callaghan of Cardiff, ( ; 27 March 191226 March 2005), commonly known as Jim Callaghan, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1976 to 1979 and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party ...
's Labour government following the
Winter of Discontent The Winter of Discontent was the period between November 1978 and February 1979 in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europ ...
. For all of the 1980s and most of the 1990s, Conservative governments under Thatcher and her successor
John Major Sir John Major (born 29 March 1943) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990 to 1997, and as Member of Parliament ...
pursued policies of
privatisation Privatization (also privatisation in British English) can mean several different things, most commonly referring to moving something from the public sector into the private sector. It is also sometimes used as a synonym for deregulation when ...
, anti- trade-unionism, and, for a time,
monetarism Monetarism is a school of thought in monetary economics that emphasizes the role of governments in controlling the amount of money in circulation. Monetarist theory asserts that variations in the money supply have major influences on measures ...
, now known collectively as
Thatcherism Thatcherism is a form of Conservatism in the United Kingdom, British conservative ideology named after Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher that relates to not just her political platform and particular policies ...
. The Labour Party elected left-winger
Michael Foot Michael Mackintosh Foot (23 July 19133 March 2010) was a Labour Party (UK), British Labour Party politician who served as Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Labour Leader from 1980 to 1983. Foot began his career as a journalist on Tribune (magaz ...
as their leader in 1980, and he responded to dissatisfaction within the Labour Party by pursuing a number of radical policies developed by its grassroots members. In 1981, several centrist and right-leaning Labour MPs formed a breakaway group called the Social Democratic Party (SDP), a move which split Labour and is widely believed to have made the Labour Party unelectable for a decade. The SDP formed an alliance with the Liberal Party which contested the
1983 The year 1983 saw both the official beginning of the Internet and the first mobile cellular telephone call. Events January * January 1 – The migration of the ARPANET to Internet protocol suite, TCP/IP is officially completed (this is consid ...
and
1987 File:1987 Events Collage.png, From top left, clockwise: The MS Herald of Free Enterprise capsizes after leaving the Port of Zeebrugge in Belgium, killing 193; Northwest Airlines Flight 255 crashes after takeoff from Detroit Metropolitan Airport, k ...
general elections as a pro-European, centrist alternative to Labour and the Conservatives. Following some initial success, the SDP did not prosper (partly due to its unfavourable distribution of votes by the First-Past-the-Post electoral system), and was accused by some of splitting the Labour vote. The SDP eventually merged with the Liberal Party to form the Liberal Democrats in 1988. The Labour Party was defeated in a landslide at the 1983 general election, and
Michael Foot Michael Mackintosh Foot (23 July 19133 March 2010) was a Labour Party (UK), British Labour Party politician who served as Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Labour Leader from 1980 to 1983. Foot began his career as a journalist on Tribune (magaz ...
was replaced shortly thereafter by
Neil Kinnock Neil Gordon Kinnock, Baron Kinnock (born 28 March 1942) is a British former politician. As a member of the Labour Party (UK), Labour Party, he served as a Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament from 1970 United Kingdom ge ...
as party leader. Kinnock progressively expelled members of
Militant The English language, English word ''militant'' is both an adjective and a noun, and it is generally used to mean vigorously Active lifestyle, active, combative and/or aggression, aggressive, especially in support of a cause, as in "militant re ...
, a
left-wing Left-wing politics describes the range of Ideology#Political%20ideologies, political ideologies that support and seek to achieve social equality and egalitarianism, often in opposition to social hierarchy. Left-wing politics typically in ...
group which practised
entryism Entryism (also called entrism, enterism, or infiltration) is a political strategy in which an organisation or state encourages its members or supporters to join another, usually larger, organization in an attempt to expand influence and expand the ...
, and moderated many of the party's policies. Despite these changes, as well as electoral gains and also due to Kinnock's negative media image, Labour was defeated at the 1987 and
1992 File:1992 Events Collage V1.png, From left, clockwise: Riots break out across Los Angeles Los Angeles ( ; es, Los Ángeles, link=no , ), often referred to by its initials L.A., is the largest city in the state of California C ...
general elections, and he was succeeded by
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer The Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer in the British Parliamentary system is the member of the Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet (United Kingdom), Shadow Cabinet who is responsible for shadowing the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The title is g ...
, John Smith.
Shadow Home Secretary In British politics, the Shadow Home Secretary (formally known as the Shadow Secretary of State for the Home Department) is the person within the Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet (UK), shadow cabinet who shadows the Home Secretary; this effecti ...
Tony Blair Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. He pr ...
became Leader of the Labour Party following Smith's sudden death from a heart attack in 1994. He continued to move the Labour Party towards the "centre" by loosening links with the unions and continuing many of Thatcher's neoliberal policies. This, coupled with the professionalising of the party machine's approach to the media, helped Labour win a historic landslide at the 1997 general election, after eighteen consecutive years of Conservative rule. Some observers say the Labour Party had by then morphed from a
democratic socialist Democratic socialism is a Left-wing politics, left-wing political philosophy that supports political democracy and some form of a socially owned economy, with a particular emphasis on economic democracy, workplace democracy, and workers' self- ...
party to a
social democratic Social democracy is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations among individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. ...
party, a process which delivered three general election victories but alienated some of its core base; leading to the formation of the Socialist Labour Party. A subset of Labour MPs stand as joint
Labour and Co-operative Labour and Co-operative Party (often abbreviated Labour Co-op; cy, Llafur a'r Blaid Gydweithredol) is a description used by candidates in United Kingdom elections who stand on behalf of both the Labour Party (UK), Labour Party and the Co-operativ ...
candidates due to a long-standing
electoral alliance An electoral alliance (also known as a bipartisan electoral agreement, electoral pact, electoral agreement, electoral coalition or electoral bloc) is an association of political party, political parties or individuals that exists solely to stand ...
between the Labour Party and the
Co-operative Party The Co-operative Party is a Centre-left politics, centre-left List of political parties in the United Kingdom, political party in the United Kingdom, supporting Cooperative, co-operative values and principles. Established in 1917, the Co-operat ...
- the political arm of the
British co-operative movement The United Kingdom is home to a widespread and diverse co-operative movement, with over 7000 registered co-operatives owned by 17 million individual members and which contribute £34bn a year to the British economy. Modern co-operation started wit ...
. At the 2019 general election, 26 were elected.


Scottish National Party

The Scottish National Party won the third-largest number of seats in the House of Commons at the 2015 general election, winning 56 MPs from the 59 constituencies in Scotland having won 50% of the popular vote. This was an increase of 50 MPs on the result achieved in 2010. At the 2017 general election, the SNP won 35 seats, a net loss of 21 seats. At the 2019 general election, the SNP won 48 seats, a net gain of 13 seats. The SNP has enjoyed parliamentary representation continuously since 1967. Following the 2007 Scottish parliamentary elections, the SNP emerged as the largest party with 47 MSPs and formed a
minority government A minority government, minority cabinet, minority administration, or a minority parliament is a government and cabinet formed in a parliamentary system when a political party or coalition of parties does not have a majority of overall seats ...
with
Alex Salmond Alexander Elliot Anderson Salmond (; born 31 December 1954) is a Scottish politician and economist who served as First Minister of Scotland from 2007 File:2007 Events Collage.png, From top left, clockwise: Steve Jobs unveils Apple Inc., Appl ...
as
First Minister A first minister is any of a variety of leaders of government Cabinet (government), cabinets. The term literally has the same meaning as "prime minister" but is typically chosen to distinguish the office-holder from a superior prime minister. Cur ...
. After the 2011 Scottish parliamentary election, the SNP won enough seats to form a majority government, the first time this had ever happened since devolution was established in 1999. Members of the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru work together as a single parliamentary group following a formal pact signed in 1986. This group currently has 49 MPs.


Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats won the fourth largest number of seats at the 2019 general election, returning 11 MPs. The Liberal Democrats were founded in 1988 by an amalgamation of the Liberal Party with the Social Democratic Party, but can trace their origin back to the Whigs and the Rochdale Radicals who evolved into the Liberal Party. The term '
Liberal Party The Liberal Party is any of many political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics ...
' was first used officially in 1868, though it had been in use colloquially for decades beforehand. The Liberal Party formed a government in 1868 and then alternated with the Conservative Party as the party of government throughout the late-nineteenth century and early-twentieth century. The Liberal Democrats are a party with policies on constitutional and political reforms, including changing the voting system for general elections (
2011 United Kingdom Alternative Vote referendum The United Kingdom Alternative Vote referendum, also known as the UK-wide referendum on the Parliamentary voting system was held on Thursday 5 May 2011 (the same date as local elections in many areas) in the United Kingdom The United K ...
), abolishing the House of Lords and replacing it with a 300-member elected Senate, introducing fixed five-year Parliaments, and introducing a National Register of Lobbyists. They also support what they see as greater fairness and social mobility. In the coalition government, the party promoted legislation introducing a pupil premium - funding for schools directed at the poorest students to give them an equal chance in life. They also supported
same-sex marriage Same-sex marriage, also known as gay marriage, is the marriage of two people of the same Legal sex and gender, sex or gender. marriage between same-sex couples is legally performed and recognized in 33 countries, with the most recent being ...
and increasing the
income tax An income tax is a tax imposed on individuals or entities (taxpayers) in respect of the income or profits earned by them (commonly called taxable income). Income tax generally is computed as the product of a tax rate times the taxable income. Tax ...
threshold to £10,000, a pre-election manifesto commitment.


Northern Ireland parties

The
Democratic Unionist Party The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is a Unionism in Ireland, unionist, Ulster loyalism, loyalist, and National conservatism, national conservative political party in Northern Ireland. It was founded in 1971 during the Troubles by Ian Paisley, ...
(DUP) had 8 MPs elected at the 2019 general election. Founded in 1971 by
Ian Paisley Ian Richard Kyle Paisley, Baron Bannside, (6 April 1926 – 12 September 2014) was a Northern Irish loyalist politician and Protestant religious leader who served as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) from 1971 to 2008 and Fir ...
, it has grown to become the larger of the two main unionist political parties in
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, that is #Descriptions, variously described as ...
. Sinn Féin MPs had 7 MPs elected at the 2019 election, but Sinn Féin MPs traditionally abstain from the House of Commons and refuse to take their seats in what they view as a "foreign" parliament.


Plaid Cymru

Plaid Cymru has enjoyed parliamentary representation continuously since 1974 and had 4 MPs elected at the 2019 general election, though one was suspended. Following the 2007 Welsh Assembly elections, they joined Labour as the junior partner in a coalition government, but have fallen down to the third-largest party in the Assembly after the 2011 Assembly elections, and have become an opposition party.


Other parliamentary parties

The
Green Party of England and Wales The Green Party of England and Wales (GPEW; cy, Plaid Werdd Cymru a Lloegr, kw, Party Gwer Pow an Sowson ha Kembra, often simply the Green Party or Greens) is a Green politics, green, Left-wing politics, left-wing political party in England a ...
has had a single MP,
Caroline Lucas Caroline Patricia Lucas (born 9 December 1960) is a British politician who has twice led the Green Party of England and Wales and has been the Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) for Brighton Pavilion (UK Parliamen ...
, since 2010 and re-elected at the 2019 general election (the party previously had an MP in 1992; Cynog Dafis, Ceredigion, who was elected on a joint Plaid Cymru/Green Party ticket). It also has three seats on the
London Assembly The London Assembly is a 25-member elected body, part of the Greater London Authority, that scrutinises the activities of the Mayor of London and has the power, with a two-thirds super-majority, to amend the Mayor's annual budget and to rejec ...
and over 500 local councillors as of May 2022. The
UK Independence Party The UK Independence Party (UKIP; ) is a Eurosceptic, right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom. The party reached its greatest level of success in the mid-2010s, when it gained two Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), member ...
(UKIP) had one MP and 24 seats in the
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of the Legislature, legislative bodies of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union (known as the Council and in ...
as well as a number of local councillors. UKIP also had a MLA in the
Northern Ireland Assembly sco-ulster, Norlin Airlan Assemblie , legislature = Seventh Assembly , coa_pic = File:NI_Assembly.svg , coa_res = 250px , house_type = Unicameral Unicameralism (from ''uni''- "one" + Latin ''came ...
. UKIP had become an emerging alternative party among some voters, gaining the third-largest share of the vote in the 2015 general election and the largest share of the vote of any party (27%) in the 2014 European elections. In 2014 UKIP gained its first ever MP following the defection and re-election of
Douglas Carswell John Douglas Wilson Carswell (born 3 May 1971) is a British former politician who served as a Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament from 2005 to 2017, co-founded Vote Leave and currently serves as president and CEO of the M ...
in the
2014 Clacton by-election The 2014 by-election for the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons constituency of Clacton (UK Parliament constituency), Clacton in Essex, England, took place on 9 October 2014. The by-election was triggered by the Conservative ...
. They campaign mainly on issues such as reducing
immigration Immigration is the international movement of people to a destination country of which they are not natives or where they do not possess citizenship in order to settle as Permanent residency, permanent residents or Naturalization, naturalize ...
and EU withdrawal. They no longer have any MPs. The
Respect Respect, also called esteem, is a positive feeling or action shown towards someone or something considered important or held in high esteem or regard. It conveys a sense of admiration for good or valuable qualities. It is also the process of ...
party, a
left-wing Left-wing politics describes the range of Ideology#Political%20ideologies, political ideologies that support and seek to achieve social equality and egalitarianism, often in opposition to social hierarchy. Left-wing politics typically in ...
group that came out of the
anti-war movement An anti-war movement (also ''antiwar'') is a social movement, usually in opposition to a particular nation's decision to start or carry on an War, armed conflict, unconditional of a maybe-existing casus belli, just cause. The term anti-war can ...
had a single MP,
George Galloway George Galloway (born 16 August 1954) is a British politician, broadcaster, and writer who is currently leader of the Workers Party of Britain, serving since 2019. Between 1987 and 2010, and then between 2012 and 2015, Galloway was a Member o ...
from 2005 to 2010, and again between 2012 and 2015. Change UK was a political party formed and disbanded in 2019. It had five MPs, four of whom were elected as Labour MPs, and one as Conservative MPs. There are usually a small number of Independent politicians in parliament with no party allegiance. In modern times, this has usually occurred when a sitting member leaves their party, and some such MPs have been re-elected as independents. Since 1950, only two new members have been elected as independents without having ever stood for a major party: *
Martin Bell Martin Bell, (born 31 August 1938) is a British UNICEF UNICEF (), originally called the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund in full, now officially United Nations Children's Fund, is an agency of the United Nations resp ...
represented the Tatton constituency in
Cheshire Cheshire ( ) is a Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial and Historic counties of England, historic county in North West England, bordered by Wales to the west, Merseyside and Greater Manchester to the north, Derbyshire to the east, and Sta ...
between 1997 and 2001. He was elected following a "sleaze" scandal involving the-then incumbent Conservative MP, Neil Hamilton. Bell, a
BBC #REDIRECT BBC
Here i going to introduce about the best teacher of my life b BALAJI sir. He is the precious gift that I got befor 2yrs . How has helped and thought all the concept and made my success in the 10th board exam. ...
journalist, stood as an anti-corruption independent candidate, and the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties withdrew their candidates from the election. *Dr. Richard Taylor MP was elected for the
Wyre Forest __NOTOC__ Wyre Forest is a large, semi-natural (partially unmanaged) woodland and forest measuring which straddles the borders of Worcestershire and Shropshire, England. Knowles Mill, a former corn mill owned by the National Trust, lies wi ...
constituency in 2001 on a platform opposing the closure of Kidderminster hospital. He later established Health Concern, the party under which he ran in 2005.


Non-Parliamentary political parties

Other
political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics, and parties may promote specific political ideology ...
exist, but struggle to return MPs to Parliament. The
Brexit Party Reform UK is a Right-wing populism, right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom. It was founded with support from Nigel Farage in November 2018 as the Brexit Party, advocating hard Euroscepticism and a no-deal Brexit, and was bri ...
was founded in January 2019, with leader Nigel Farage (former retired UKIP leader). It initially had 14 MEPs, all of whom had been elected as members of UKIP. In the
2019 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom The 2019 European Parliament election was the United Kingdom's component of the 2019 European Parliament election, held on Thursday 23 May 2019 and the results were announced on Sunday 26 and Monday 27 May 2019, after all the other EU countrie ...
, it returned 29 MEPs. The MEPs were elected representatives of the party until 11pm on 31 January 2020 when the UK left the European Union and the position of British MEPs was subsequently abolished. Following the
2021 Scottish Parliament Election The 2021 Scottish Parliament election took place on 6 May 2021, under the provisions of the Scotland Act 1998. All 129 Member of the Scottish Parliament, Members of the Scottish Parliament were elected in the sixth election since the parliament ...
the
Scottish Greens The Scottish Greens (also known as the Scottish Green Party; gd, Pàrtaidh Uaine na h-Alba ; sco, Scots Green Pairtie) are a green Green is the color Color (American English) or colour (British English) is the visual percepti ...
have 8 MSPs in the
Scottish Parliament The Scottish Parliament ( gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba ; sco, Scots Pairlament) is the devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved, unicameralism, unicameral legislature of Scotland. Located in the Holyrood, Edinburgh, Holyrood area of the capital ...
and are the junior partner in the SNP/Green coalition. They also 35 local councillors. The Green Party in Northern Ireland has previously had MLAs in the
Northern Ireland Assembly sco-ulster, Norlin Airlan Assemblie , legislature = Seventh Assembly , coa_pic = File:NI_Assembly.svg , coa_res = 250px , house_type = Unicameral Unicameralism (from ''uni''- "one" + Latin ''came ...
. They currently have 8 local councillors. The
Scottish Socialist Party The Scottish Socialist Party (SSP; gd, Pàrtaidh Sòisealach na h-Alba; sco, Scots Socialist Pairtie) is a left-wing Left-wing politics describes the range of Ideology#Political%20ideologies, political ideologies that support and ...
(SSP) won its first seat in the Scottish Parliament in the
1999 Scottish Parliament election The first election to the devolved Scottish Parliament, to fill 129 seats, took place on 6 May 1999. Following the election, the Scottish Labour, Labour Party and the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Liberal Democrats formed the Scottish Executive, w ...
. In the
2003 Scottish Parliament election The 2003 Scottish Parliament election was the second election of members to the Scottish Parliament. It was held on 1 May 2003 and it brought no change in terms of control of the Scottish Executive. Jack McConnell, the Scottish Labour, Labour P ...
the party increased their number of seats to 6. The party built up its support through opposing the war in Iraq and fighting for policies such as free school meals and an end to prescription charges. In the
2007 Scottish Parliament election The 2007 Scottish Parliament election was held on Thursday 3 May 2007 to elect members to the Scottish Parliament. It was the third general election to the devolved Scottish Parliament since it was created in 1999. 2007 Scottish local elections, ...
it lost all of its MSPs but remains politically active and continues to contest elections. The
British National Party The British National Party (BNP) is a Far-right politics, far-right, Fascism, fascist list of political parties in the United Kingdom, political party in the United Kingdom. It is headquartered in Wigton, Cumbria, and its leader is Adam Walke ...
(BNP) won two seats in the European Parliament in the 2009 European elections, before losing both seats in 2014. In May 2018 the party lost its last elected representative (a local councillor). The
Women's Equality Party The Women's Equality Party (WEP) is a feminist political party set up in the United Kingdom in 2015. The idea was conceived by Catherine Mayer and Sandi Toksvig at the Women of the World Festival, when they concluded that there was a need ...
(WEP) was founded in 2015. The party gained its first elected representation in the 2019 United Kingdom local elections, winning one local councillor seat on Congleton Town Council. The party has no other elected representation at any other level of governance. The Libertarian Party was founded in 2008 and has contested several local elections and parliamentary constituencies. It has no elected representatives at any level of governance. The English Democrats was founded in 2002 and advocates England having its own parliament. The party's candidate was elected mayor of Doncaster in 2009, before resigning from the party in February 2013. Other parties include: the
Socialist Labour Party (UK) The Socialist Labour Party (SLP) is a socialist political party in the United Kingdom. The party was established in 1996 and is led by Arthur Scargill, a former Labour Party (UK), Labour Party member and the former leader of the National Union ...
, the
Socialist Party of Great Britain The Socialist Party of Great Britain (SPGB) is a Socialism, socialist List of political parties in the United Kingdom, political party in the United Kingdom. Founded in 1904 as a split from the Social Democratic Federation (SDF), it advocate ...
, the
Communist Party of Britain The Communist Party of Britain (CPB) is a communist party in Great Britain which emerged from a dispute between Eurocommunism, Eurocommunists and Marxism–Leninism, Marxist-Leninists in the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1988. It follo ...
, the
Socialist Party (England and Wales) The Socialist Party ( cy, Plaid Sosialaidd Cymru in Wales) is a Trotskyism, Trotskyist political party in England and Wales. Founded in 1997, it had formerly been Militant tendency, Militant, an Entryism, entryist group in the Labour Party (UK), ...
, the Socialist Workers Party, the
Liberal Party The Liberal Party is any of many political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics ...
,
Mebyon Kernow Mebyon Kernow – The Party for Cornwall (, MK; Cornish language, Cornish for ''Sons of Cornwall'') is a Cornish nationalism, Cornish nationalist, Left-wing politics, centre-left political party in Cornwall, in southwestern Britain. It currentl ...
(a Cornish nationalist party) in Cornwall, the
Yorkshire Party The Yorkshire Party is a regionalist political party in Yorkshire Yorkshire ( ; abbreviated Yorks), formally known as the County of York, is a Historic counties of England, historic county in northern England and by far the largest in the ...
in Yorkshire, and the National Health Action Party. The Pirate Party UK existed from 2009 to 2020. Several local parties contest only within a specific area, a single county, borough or district. Examples include the Better Bedford Independent Party, which was one of the dominant parties in Bedford Borough Council and led by Bedford's former Mayor, Frank Branston. The most notable local party is Health Concern, which controlled a single seat in the British Parliament from 2001 to 2010. The Jury Team, launched in March 2009 and described as a "non-party party", is an umbrella organisation seeking to increase the number of independent MPs. The Official Monster Raving Loony Party was founded in 1983. The OMRLP are distinguished by having a deliberately bizarre
manifesto A manifesto is a published declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government. A manifesto usually accepts a previously published opinion or Consensus decision-making, publi ...
, which contains things that seem to be impossible or too absurd to implement – usually to highlight what they see as real-life absurdities. It is effectively regarded as a satirical political party.


2015 to 2019

After winning the largest number of seats and votes in the 2015 general election, the Conservatives under David Cameron, remained ahead of the Labour Party, led by
Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Bernard Corbyn (; born 26 May 1949) is a British politician who served as Leader of the Opposition (United Kingdom), Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 2015 to 2020. On the pol ...
since September 2015. The SNP maintained its position in Scotland, the party was just short of an overall majority at the Scottish parliamentary elections in May 2016. However, a turbulent
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a Direct democracy, direct vote by the Constituency, electorate on a proposal, law, or political issue. This is in contrast to an issue being voted on by a Representative democr ...
on the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union, called for by David Cameron, led to his resignation, the appointment of a new prime minister Theresa May, and divided opinion on Europe amongst the party. In addition, the EU referendum campaign plunged the Labour Party into crisis and resulted in a motion of no confidence in the party leader Jeremy Corbyn being passed by the party's MPs in a 172–40 vote, which followed a significant number of resignations from the Shadow Cabinet. This led to a leadership election which began with
Angela Eagle Dame Angela Eagle Order of the British Empire, DBE (born 17 February 1961) is a British Labour Party (UK), Labour Party politician serving as the Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) for Wallasey (UK Parliament consti ...
, the former Shadow First Secretary of State and Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills who eight days later withdrew from the leadership race, to support
Owen Smith Owen Smith (born 2 May 1970) is a former Labour Party (UK), Labour Party politician and subsequently a British lobbyist, who has been the UK government relations director for pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb since 2020. Smith was M ...
, the former
Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions The Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is an office within British politics held by a member of His Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition (United Kingdom), His Majesty's Loyal Opposition. The duty of the office holder is to scrutinise the ...
. This was won by Jeremy Corbyn with an increased majority. Following the vote to leave the European Union, Nigel Farage offered his own resignation as leader, something he had campaigned for since 1992. A leadership contest also took place in the Green Party, which led to the joint election on 2 September 2016 of
Jonathan Bartley Jonathan Charles Bartley (born 16 October 1971) is a British politician and was Co-Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales The Green Party of England and Wales (GPEW; cy, Plaid Werdd Cymru a Lloegr, kw, Party Gwer Pow an Sowson h ...
and
Caroline Lucas Caroline Patricia Lucas (born 9 December 1960) is a British politician who has twice led the Green Party of England and Wales and has been the Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) for Brighton Pavilion (UK Parliamen ...
as co-leaders, who took over the role in a job-share arrangement. Lucas, was previously leader until 2010 and is the party's only MP. Strategic cross-party alliances have been initiated, including a "
progressive alliance The Progressive Alliance (PA) is a political international of Social democracy, social democratic and Progressivism, progressive political parties and organisations founded on 22 May 2013 in Leipzig, Germany. The alliance was formed as an al ...
" and a "Patriotic Alliance", as proposed by
UKIP The UK Independence Party (UKIP; ) is a Eurosceptic, right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom. The party reached its greatest level of success in the mid-2010s, when it gained two Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), member ...
donor Arron Banks. In 2017, the prime minister, Theresa May, called a general election. She hoped to increase the conservative majority to diffuse party opposition to her deal to leave the EU. In the election, the conservatives lost seats and the Labour party, under Jeremy Corbyn, gained 30 seats. This led to a minority conservative government supported by the DUP. The
Economist Intelligence Unit The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) is the research and analysis division of the Economist Group, providing forecasting and advisory services through research and analysis, such as monthly country reports, five-year country economic forecasts, ...
(EIU) rated the United Kingdom as a " full democracy" in 2017. In the 2018 EIU democracy index, the UK remained 11th out of the 14 western European nations classed as 'full democracy' with an overall score of 8.53 out of a maximum of 10. It received a comparatively low mark in the 'functioning of government' assessment. In July 2019,
Boris Johnson Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (; born 19 June 1964) is a British politician, writer and journalist who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 20 ...
won the leadership of the conservative party following the resignation of May. He became the prime minister by default. In August 2019, Prime Minister Boris Johnson requested the monarch,
Queen Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; 21 April 1926 – 8 September 2022) was Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms from 6 February 1952 until Death and state funeral of Elizabeth II, her death in 2022. She was queen ...
, to prorogue the
British parliament The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It meets at the Palace of We ...
. Although this measure is common for incoming governments to allow time to prepare the
Queen's speech A speech from the throne, or throne speech, is an event in certain monarchies in which the reigning sovereign, or a representative thereof, reads a prepared speech to members of the nation's legislature when a Legislative session, session is ...
, the move caused great controversy as it was announced to last 23 days instead of the usual 4 or 5 days. It would end the current session of the Parliament that had been running for 2 years and prevent further parliamentary debate. The government stated that it was nothing to do with
Brexit Brexit (; a portmanteau of "British exit") was the Withdrawal from the European Union, withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) at 23:00 Greenwich Mean Time, GMT on 31 January 2020 (00:00 1 February 2020 Central Eur ...
and that there would still be "ample time" for debate before Brexit happens. Opponents believed that parliament had been suspended to force through a no-deal Brexit and prevent parliament from being able to thwart the government's plan. Others argued that it facilitated the Brexit negotiations by forcing the EU to modify the current proposed deal. The move is unprecedented in British politics and caused debate in the media, an attempt to stop it in the Scottish
Court of Session The Court of Session is the supreme civil court of Scotland and constitutes part of the College of Justice; the supreme criminal court of Scotland is the High Court of Justiciary. The Court of Session sits in Parliament House in Edinbur ...
, an attempt by ex-prime minister
John Major Sir John Major (born 29 March 1943) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990 to 1997, and as Member of Parliament ...
and others to stop it in the English High Court and in the High Court in Northern Ireland. It was reported by many media sources that the move takes the UK one more step towards a full
dictatorship A dictatorship is a form of government which is characterized by a leader, or a group of leaders, which holds governmental powers with few to no Limited government, limitations on them. The leader of a dictatorship is called a dictator. Politics i ...
from its current status of ' elective dictatorship'. The legality of the suspension of parliament was tested in courts in England and Scotland. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. On 24 September, it ruled unanimously that the prorogation was both justiciable and unlawful. The prorogation was quashed and deemed "null and of no
egal Egal or Égal may refer to: People * Ali Sugule Egal (1936–2016), Somali composer, poet and playwright * Fabienne Égal (born 1954), French announcer and television host * Liban Abdi Egal, Somali entrepreneur * Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal (192 ...
effect". Parliament resumed the next day. On the return of parliament the government lost its
majority A majority, also called a simple majority or absolute majority to distinguish it from #Related terms, related terms, is more than half of the total.Dictionary definitions of ''majority'' aMerriam-WebsterPhillip Lee
crossed the floor Crossed may refer to: * ''Crossed'' (comics), a 2008 comic book series by Garth Ennis * ''Crossed'' (novel), a 2010 young adult novel by Ally Condie * "Crossed" (''The Walking Dead''), an episode of the television series ''The Walking Dead'' S ...
of the house to join the Liberal Democrats. This meant that the combined votes of the Conservative and DUP MPs amounted to one less than the combined votes of opposition parties. The government of Boris Johnson then lost a vote, 301 to 328, giving control of the agenda of the house to the MPs, removing the control the government had over the introduction of new laws. The 21 Conservative MPs who voted against their own government had the
whip A whip is a tool or weapon designed to strike humans or other animals to exert control through pain compliance or fear of pain. They can also be used without inflicting pain, for audiovisual cues, such as in equestrianism. They are generally e ...
removed by Number 10, removing them from the party. This included long-standing members of the party. Johnson called for a general election and following a few attempts succeeded in getting a vote approving an election through parliament.


Current political landscape

note: this section is outdated. In the December 2019
general election 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-election ...
, the Conservative Party, led by
Boris Johnson Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (; born 19 June 1964) is a British politician, writer and journalist who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 20 ...
, won a large overall majority.
Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Bernard Corbyn (; born 26 May 1949) is a British politician who served as Leader of the Opposition (United Kingdom), Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 2015 to 2020. On the pol ...
resigned as leader of the Labour Party.
Jo Swinson Joanne Kate Swinson (born 5 February 1980) is a former British Liberal Democrats (UK), Liberal Democrat politician who was Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 22 July to 13 December 2019. She was the first woman and the youngest person to hold ...
resigned as Lib Dem leader after losing her own seat. On 20 December 2019, the
Brexit withdrawal agreement The Brexit withdrawal agreement, officially titled Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, is a treaty between the European Uni ...
was passed. The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020 at 11 p.m. GMT and entered a transition period, set to finish on 31 December 2020. In January 2020, the Labour Party began the process of electing a new leader. On 4 April 2020,
Keir Starmer Sir Keir Rodney Starmer (; born 2 September 1962) is a British politician and barrister who has served as Leader of the Opposition (United Kingdom), Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party sin ...
was elected leader of the Labour Party with 56.2% of the vote in the first round. In October 2020, Corbyn was suspended from the Labour Party over his comments about antisemitism. According to ''
The Washington Post ''The Washington Post'' (also known as the ''Post'' and, informally, ''WaPo'') is an American daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C. It is the most widely circulated newspaper within the Washington metropolitan area and has a large nati ...
'': :Corbyn's ouster from a party he led in the last two national elections, in 2019 and 2017, was a stunning rebuke and mark him now as a near-outcast, at least temporarily. The suspension also shines light on a long-running feud within Europe's largest democratic socialist party over its very soul, as hard-left “Corbynistas” pushing for radical change duke it out with a more moderate wing more ideologically aligned with Tony Blair, the centrist former Labour prime minister. The present dispute within the Labour party is likely causing the leftist political coalition to further fragment since the catastrophic result in 2019. Polling generally indicates that ''at present'' (August 2021) Labour has lost significant portions of its vote share to the Green party and the Liberal Democrats. At Labour Conference 2021, several showdowns between the left and right of the party are expected to take place. This includes but is not limited to: a motion to give members power to approve or reject decisions over the Labour whip within the PLP, a potential rejection of the pro-Starmer interim General Secretary David Evans by unions and members alike, a debate over PR and a significant debate over the loss of members and their subscription fees since Corbyn's expulsion which has left the party in a dire state regarding its activist and financial bases. The SNP and the
Scottish Greens The Scottish Greens (also known as the Scottish Green Party; gd, Pàrtaidh Uaine na h-Alba ; sco, Scots Green Pairtie) are a green Green is the color Color (American English) or colour (British English) is the visual percepti ...
won the right to form a Scottish coalition government in May 2021. The precise arrangement is loose and allows the Greens freedom to criticise official SNP policy on key areas of disagreement. However, it provides FM Nicola Sturgeon with a mandate to call for a new independence referendum after the failed one in 2014. Proponents of a new referendum particularly cite Brexit as changing the political situation, thus leading Scots to be more pro-independence than in 2014. As an issue,
Scottish independence Scottish independence ( gd, Neo-eisimeileachd na h-Alba; sco, Scots unthirldom) is the idea of Scotland as a sovereign state, independent from the United Kingdom, and refers to the political movement that is campaigning to bring it about. S ...
is known to cross-cut across party lines, with many
Scottish Labour Scottish Labour ( gd, Pàrtaidh Làbarach na h-Alba, sco, Scots Labour Pairty; officially the Scottish Labour Party) is a social democracy, social democratic political party in Scotland. It is an autonomous section of the UK Labour Party (U ...
voters in particular being favourable to the prospect of independence.


Membership

All political parties have membership schemes that allow members of the public to actively influence the policy and direction of the party to varying degrees, though particularly at a local level. Membership of British political parties is around 1% of the British electorate, which is lower than in all European countries except for Poland and Latvia. Overall membership to a political party has been in decline since the 1950s. In 1951, the Conservative Party had 2.2 million members, and a year later in 1952 the Labour Party reached their peak of 1 million members (of an electorate of around 34 million). The table below details the membership numbers of political parties that have more than 5,000 members. No data could be collected for the four parties of Northern Ireland: the DUP, UUP, SDLP, and Sinn Féin. However, in January 1997, it was estimated that the UUP had 10,000 – 12,000 members, and the DUP had 5,000 members. In December 2020, the
UK Independence Party The UK Independence Party (UKIP; ) is a Eurosceptic, right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom. The party reached its greatest level of success in the mid-2010s, when it gained two Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), member ...
had 3,888 members. In June 2019,
Reform UK Reform UK is a Right-wing populism, right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom. It was founded with support from Nigel Farage in November 2018 as the Brexit Party, advocating hard Euroscepticism and a no-deal Brexit, and was bri ...
claimed to have 115,000 registered supporters.


Local government

The UK is divided into a complex system of local governance.


Former European Union membership

The United Kingdom first joined the then
European Communities The European Communities (EC) were three international organizations that were governed by the same set of institutions Institutions are humanly devised structures of rules and norms that shape and constrain individual behavior. All defin ...
in January 1973 by the then
Conservative Conservatism is a Philosophy of culture, cultural, Social philosophy, social, and political philosophy that seeks to promote and to preserve traditional institutions, practices, and values. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in r ...
Prime Minister
Edward Heath Sir Edward Richard George Heath (9 July 191617 July 2005), often known as Ted Heath, was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1974 and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conserv ...
, and remained a member of the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
(EU) that it evolved into; British citizens, and other EU citizens resident in the UK, between 1979 and 2019 elected
members Member may refer to: * Military jury, referred to as "Members" in military jargon * Element (mathematics), an object that belongs to a mathematical set * In object-oriented programming, a member of a class ** Field (computer science), entries in ...
to represent them in the
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of the Legislature, legislative bodies of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union (known as the Council and in ...
in
Brussels Brussels (french: Bruxelles or ; nl, Brussel ), officially the Brussels-Capital Region (All text and all but one graphic show the English name as Brussels-Capital Region.) (french: link=no, Région de Bruxelles-Capitale; nl, link=no, Bruss ...
and
Strasbourg Strasbourg (, , ; german: Straßburg ; gsw, label=Bas Rhin Alsatian dialect, Alsatian, Strossburi , gsw, label=Haut Rhin Alsatian dialect, Alsatian, Strossburig ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture and largest city of the Grand Est Re ...
. The UK's membership in the Union has been a major topic of debate over the years and has been objected to over questions of sovereignty, and in recent years there have been divisions in both major parties over whether the UK should form greater ties within the EU, or reduce the EU's supranational powers. Opponents of greater European integration are known as "
Eurosceptic Euroscepticism, also spelled as Euroskepticism or EU-scepticism, is a political position involving criticism of the European Union (EU) and European integration. It ranges from those who oppose some EU institutions and policies, and seek reform ...
s", while supporters are known as "Europhiles". Division over Europe is prevalent in both major parties, although the Conservative Party is seen as most divided over the issue, both whilst in Government up to 1997 and after 2010, and between those dates as the opposition. However, the Labour Party is also divided, with conflicting views over British adoption of the
euro The euro (currency symbol, symbol: euro sign, €; ISO 4217, code: EUR) is the official currency of 19 out of the Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Union (EU). This group of states is known as the eurozone o ...
whilst in Government (1997–2010). British nationalists have long campaigned against
European integration European integration is the process of industrial, economic integration, economic, political, legal, social integration, social, and cultural Regional integration, integration of states wholly or partially in Europe or nearby. European integrat ...
. The strong showing of the eurosceptic
UK Independence Party The UK Independence Party (UKIP; ) is a Eurosceptic, right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom. The party reached its greatest level of success in the mid-2010s, when it gained two Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), member ...
(UKIP) since the 2004 European Parliament elections has shifted the debate over UK relations with the EU. In March 2008, Parliament decided to not hold a
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a Direct democracy, direct vote by the Constituency, electorate on a proposal, law, or political issue. This is in contrast to an issue being voted on by a Representative democr ...
on the ratification of the
Treaty of Lisbon The Treaty of Lisbon (initially known as the Reform Treaty) is an international agreement that amends the two Treaty, treaties which form the constitutional basis of the European Union (EU). The Treaty of Lisbon, which was signed by the Membe ...
, signed in December 2007. This was despite the Labour government promising in 2004 to hold a referendum on the previously proposed Constitution for Europe. On 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in a
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a Direct democracy, direct vote by the Constituency, electorate on a proposal, law, or political issue. This is in contrast to an issue being voted on by a Representative democr ...
. After the referendum, it was debated as to how and when the UK should leave the EU. On 11 July 2016, the Cabinet Office Minister, John Penrose failed to deliver a final answer on whether it would be at the disposal of the
Prime Minister A prime minister, premier or chief of cabinet is the head of the Cabinet (government), cabinet and the leader of the Minister (government), ministers in the Executive (government), executive branch of government, often in a parliamentary syst ...
and one of the Secretaries of State, through the
royal prerogative The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege and immunity, recognized in common law and, sometimes, in Civil law (legal system), civil law jurisdictions possessing a monarchy, as belonging to the monarch, sovereign and whic ...
, or of
Parliament In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, electorate, making laws, and overseeing ...
, through
primary legislation Primary legislation and secondary legislation (the latter also called delegated legislation or subordinate legislation) are two forms of law, created respectively by the legislative and executive branches of governments in representative dem ...
. In October 2016 the Conservative
Prime Minister A prime minister, premier or chief of cabinet is the head of the Cabinet (government), cabinet and the leader of the Minister (government), ministers in the Executive (government), executive branch of government, often in a parliamentary syst ...
,
Theresa May Theresa Mary May, Lady May (; née Brasier; born 1 October 1956) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 2016 to 2019. She pre ...
, announced that Article 50 would be invoked by "the first quarter of 2017". On 24 January 2017 the
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of ju ...
ruled in the Miller case by a majority that the process could not be initiated without an authorising
act of parliament Acts of Parliament, sometimes referred to as primary legislation, are texts of law passed by the legislative body of a jurisdiction (often a parliament or council). In most countries with a parliamentary system of government, acts of parliame ...
, but unanimously ruled against the Scottish government's claim in respect of devolution that they had a direct say in the decision to trigger Article 50. Consequently, the
European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 (c. 9) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislat ...
empowering the prime minister to invoke Article 50 was passed and enacted by
royal assent Royal assent is the method by which a monarch formally approves an act of the legislature, either directly or through an official acting on the monarch's behalf. In some jurisdictions, royal assent is equivalent to promulgation, while in other ...
in March 2017. Invocation of Article 50 by the United Kingdom government occurred on 29 March 2017, when Sir Tim Barrow, the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the European Union, formally delivered by hand a letter signed by Prime Minister
Theresa May Theresa Mary May, Lady May (; née Brasier; born 1 October 1956) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 2016 to 2019. She pre ...
to
Donald Tusk Donald Franciszek Tusk ( , ; born 22 April 1957) is a Polish politician who was President of the European Council from 2014 to 2019. He served as the 14th Prime Minister of Poland from 2007 to 2014 and was a co-founder and leader of the Civic Pla ...
, the
President of the European Council The president of the European Council is the person presiding over and driving forward the work of the European Council on the world stage. This institution Institutions are humanly devised structures of rules and norms that shape and co ...
in Brussels. The letter also contained the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...
's intention to withdraw from the
European Atomic Energy Community The European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom) is an international organization, international organisation established by the Euratom Treaty on 25 March 1957 with the original purpose of creating a specialist market for nuclear power i ...
(EAEC or Euratom). This means that the UK will cease to be a member of the EU on 30 March 2019, unless an extension to negotiations is agreed upon by the UK and EU. The leaving date was subsequently revised by agreement with the EU to be 31 October 2019. This led to a change of prime minister who promised to leave the EU on this date either with a revised deal or with no-deal. The UK withdrew from the EU at 23.00 GMT on 31 January 2020, beginning a transition period that was set to end on 31 December 2020. During the 11-month transition period, the UK and EU negotiated their future relationship which resulted in the
EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement The EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) is a free trade agreement A free-trade agreement (FTA) or treaty is an agreement according to international law to form a free-trade area between the cooperating state (polity), states. There ...
which was agreed on 24 December 2020 just days before the end of the transition period. The UK ended the transition period which ended the incorporation of
European Union law European Union law is a system of rules operating within the member states of the European Union (EU). Since the founding of the European Coal and Steel Community following World War II, the EU has developed the aim to "promote peace, its value ...
into UK law, and ended its membership of the EU Customs Union, and the European Single Market at 23:00 GMT on 31 December 2020.


International organisation participation

*
African Development Bank The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) or (BAD) is a multilateral development finance institution headquartered in Abidjan Abidjan ( , ; N'Ko script, N’ko: ߊߓߌߖߊ߲߬) is the economic capital of the Ivory Coast. As of the Demogra ...
*
Asian Development Bank The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a Multilateral development bank, regional development bank established on 19 December 1966, which is headquartered in the Ortigas Center located in the city of Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines. The bank ...
*
Australia Group The Australia Group is a multilateral export control regime (MECR) and an informal group of countries (now joined by the European Commission) established in 1985 (after the use of chemical weapons by Iraq in 1984) to help member countries to i ...
*
Bank for International Settlements The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is an international financial institution owned by central bank A central bank, reserve bank, or monetary authority is an institution that manages the currency and monetary policy of a country ...
*
Commonwealth of Nations The Commonwealth of Nations, simply referred to as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 56 member states, the vast majority of which are former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the C ...
*
Caribbean Development Bank The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is a financial institution that helps Caribbean The Caribbean (, ) ( es, El Caribe; french: la Caraïbe; ht, Karayib; nl, De Caraïben) is a region of the Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, it ...
(non-regional) *
Council of Europe The Council of Europe (CoE; french: Conseil de l'Europe, ) is an international organisation founded in the wake of World War II to uphold European Convention on Human Rights, human rights, democracy and the Law in Europe, rule of law in Europe. ...
*
CERN The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN (; ; ), is an intergovernmental organization that operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world. Established in 1954, it is based in a northwestern suburb of Gene ...
*
Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) is a post–Cold War, NATO, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) institution. The EAPC is a multilateral forum created to improve relations between NATO and non-NATO countries in Europe and Centr ...
*
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is an international financial institution founded in 1991. As a multilateral developmental investment bank, the EBRD uses investment as a tool to build Market economy, market economies. ...
*
European Investment Bank The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the European Union's Investment banking, investment bank and is owned by the Member state of the European Union, EU Member States. It is one of the largest Supranational union, supranational lenders in th ...
*
European Space Agency , owners = , headquarters = Paris, Île-de-France, France , coordinates = , spaceport = Guiana Space Centre , seal = File:ESA emblem seal.png , seal_size = 130px , image = Views in the Main Control Room (1205 ...
*
Food and Agriculture Organization The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)french: link=no, Organisation des Nations unies pour l'alimentation et l'agriculture; it, Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite per l'Alimentazione e l'Agricoltura is an intern ...
* G5, G6, G7, G8 * G10 * Inmarsat *
Inter-American Development Bank The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB or IADB) is an International financial institutions, international financial institution headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States of America, and serving as the largest source of development finan ...
*
International Atomic Energy Agency The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an intergovernmental organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear technology, nuclear energy and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. It was ...
*
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) is an international financial institution, established in 1944 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States, that is the lending arm of World Bank Group. The IBRD offers l ...
*
International Civil Aviation Organization The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO, ) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that coordinates the principles and techniques of international air navigation, and fosters the planning and development of international sc ...
*
International Chamber of Commerce The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC; French language, French: ''Chambre de commerce internationale'') is the largest, most representative Trade association, business organization in the world. Its over 45 million members in over 100 countri ...
*
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) was an international trade union. It came into being on 7 December 1949 following a split within the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), and was dissolved on 31 October 2006 when ...
*
International Criminal Court The International Criminal Court (ICC or ICCt) is an intergovernmental organization and International court, international tribunal seated in The Hague, Netherlands. It is the first and only permanent international court with jurisdiction to pro ...
* International Criminal Police Organization - Interpol *
International Development Association The International Development Association (IDA) (french: link=no, Association internationale de développement) is an international financial institution which offers concessional loans and grant (money), grants to the world's poorest developin ...
*
International Energy Agency The International Energy Agency (IEA) is a Paris-based autonomous Intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental organisation, established in 1974, that provides policy recommendations, analysis and data on the entire global energy sector, wit ...
*
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is a worldwide humanitarian aid organization that reaches 160 million people each year through its 192-member National Societies. It acts before, during and after disast ...
*
International Finance Corporation The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is an international financial institutions, international financial institution that offers investment, advisory, and asset management, asset-management services to encourage private sector development ...
*
International Fund for Agricultural Development The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD; french: link=no, Fonds international de développement agricole (FIDA)) is an International financial institutions, international financial institution and a specialised agency of th ...
*
International Hydrographic Organization The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) is an intergovernmental organisation representing hydrography. , the IHO comprised 98 Member States. A principal aim of the IHO is to ensure that the world's seas, oceans and navigable waters a ...
*
International Labour Organization The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency whose mandate is to advance social and economic justice by setting international labour standards. Founded in October 1919 under the League of Nations, it is the first and ol ...
*
International Maritime Organization The International Maritime Organization (IMO, French: ''Organisation maritime internationale'') is a specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for regulating Ship transport, shipping. The IMO was established following agreement at ...
*
International Monetary Fund The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is a major financial agency of the United Nations, and an international financial institution, headquartered in Washington, D.C., consisting of 190 countries. Its stated mission is "working to foster globa ...
*
International Olympic Committee The International Olympic Committee (IOC; french: link=no, Comité international olympique, ''CIO'') is a non-governmental Sports governing body, sports organisation based in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is constituted in the form of an associ ...
(IOC) *
International Organization for Migration The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is a UN agency, United Nations agency that provides services and advice concerning human migration, migration to governments and migrants, including internally displaced persons, refugees, and mi ...
(IOM) (observer) *
International Organization for Standardization The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard development organization composed of representatives from the national standards organizations of member countries. Membership requirements are given in Art ...
(ISO) *
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is a Humanitarianism, humanitarian movement with approximately 97 million Volunteering, volunteers, members and staff worldwide. It was founded to protect human life and health, to ensure re ...
*
International Telecommunications Satellite Organization The International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO) is an intergovernmental organization Globalization is social change associated with increased connectivity among societies and their elements and the explosive evolution of t ...
(Intelsat) *
International Telecommunication Union The International Telecommunication Union is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for many matters related to information and communication technologies. It was established on 17 May 1865 as the International Telegraph Unio ...
(ITU) *
International Whaling Commission The International Whaling Commission (IWC) is a specialised regional fishery management organisation, established under the terms of the 1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) to "provide for the proper conservation of ...
*
MONUC The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or MONUSCO, an acronym An acronym is a word or name formed from the initial components of a longer name or phrase. Acronyms are usually formed fr ...
*
Non-Aligned Movement The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a forum of 120 countries that Non-belligerent, are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. After the United Nations, it is the largest grouping of states worldwide. The movement originated in ...
(NAM) (guest) *
North Atlantic Treaty Organization The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental military alliance between 30 Member sta ...
(NATO) *
Nuclear Energy Agency The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) is an intergovernmental agency that is organized under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Originally formed on 1 February 1958 with the name European Nuclear Energy Agency (ENEA)— ...
(NEA) *
Nuclear Suppliers Group The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a multilateral export control regime and a group of nuclear supplier countries that seek to prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials, equipment and technology that can be used to m ...
(NSG) *
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; french: Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques, ''OCDE'') is an intergovernmental organisation with 38 member countries, founded in 1961 to stimulate ...
*
Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental organisation and the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which entered into force on 29 April 1997. ...
*
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is the world's largest regional security-oriented intergovernmental organization with observer status at the United Nations. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control, prom ...
(OSCE) *
Organization of American States The Organization of American States (OAS; es, Organización de los Estados Americanos, pt, Organização dos Estados Americanos, french: Organisation des États américains; ''OEA'') is an international organization that was founded on 30 April ...
(OAS) (observer) * The
Pacific Community The Pacific Community (PC), formerly the South Pacific Commission (SPC), is an international development organisation governed by 27 members, including 22 Pacific island countries and territories. The organisation's headquarters are in Nouméa, ...
(SPC) *
Permanent Court of Arbitration The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is a non-UN intergovernmental organization located in The Hague, Netherlands. Unlike a judicial court in the traditional sense, the PCA provides services of arbitral tribunal to resolve disputes that arise ...
*
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a List of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) aimed at promoting world peace and security through international coope ...
*
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization whose stated purposes are to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be ...
*
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is an intergovernmental organization within the United Nations Secretariat that promotes the interests of Developing country, developing countries in International trade, world t ...
(UNCTAD) *
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA or ECA; french: link=no, Commission économique pour l'Afrique, CEA) was established in 1958 by the United Nations Economic and Social Council to encourage economic cooperation among its ...
(associate) *
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE or UNECE) is one of the five regional commissions under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. It was established in order to promote economic cooperation and i ...
*
United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, known as ECLAC, UNECLAC or in Spanish and Portuguese CEPAL, is a United Nations United Nations Economic and Social Council#Regional commissions, regional commission to en ...
*
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is one of the five regional commissions under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. It was established in order to increase economic ...
*
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is a United Nations agency mandated to aid and Humanitarian protection, protect refugees, Internally displaced person, forcibly displaced communities, and Statelessness, stateless peopl ...
(UNHCR) *
United Nations Industrial Development Organization The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) (French: Organisation des Nations unies pour le développement industriel; French/Spanish acronym: ONUDI) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that assists countries in e ...
(UNIDO) *
United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) is the officially mandated mission of the United Nations in Kosovo. The UNMIK describes its mandate as being to "help the United Nations Security Council achieve an overall ...
(UNMIK) *
United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission United may refer to: Places * United, Pennsylvania, an unincorporated community * United, West Virginia, an unincorporated community Arts and entertainment Films * United (2003 film), ''United'' (2003 film), a Norwegian film * United (2011 film) ...
(UNIKOM) *
United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina The United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina ( sh, / , ), abbreviated BiH () or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and Pars pro toto#Geography, often known informally as Bosnia, is a country at the c ...
(UNMIBH) *
United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone The United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) was a United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization whose stated purposes are to maintain international peace and international security, security, develo ...
(UNAMSIL) *
United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia The United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) was established by United Nations Security Council Resolution 858 in August 1993 to verify compliance with a 27 July 1993 ceasefire agreement between the Georgia (country), Republic of Georgi ...
(UNOMIG) *
United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus The United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) is a United Nations peacekeeping force that was established under United Nations Security Council Resolution 186 in 1964 to prevent a recurrence of fighting following intercommunal viol ...
(UNFICYP) *
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is a United Nations System, UN agency that supports the relief and Human development (economics), human development of Palestinian refugees. UNRWA's mand ...
(UNRWA) *
United Nations Security Council The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization whose stated purposes are to maintain international peace and internatio ...
(permanent member) *
Universal Postal Union The Universal Postal Union (UPU, french: link=no, Union postale universelle), established by the Treaty of Bern of 1874, is a list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that coordinates po ...
(UPU) * UNTAET *
Western European Union The Western European Union (WEU; french: Union de l'Europe occidentale, UEO; german: Westeuropäische Union, WEU) was the international organisation and military alliance that succeeded the Western Union (alliance), Western Union (WU) after the ...
*
World Confederation of Labour The World Confederation of Labour (WCL) was an international labour organization founded in 1920 and based in Europe. Totalitarian Totalitarianism is a form of government and a political system that prohibits all opposition parties, outlaws i ...
*
World Customs Organization The World Customs Organization (WCO) is an intergovernmental organization headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. The WCO works on customs-related matters including the development of international conventions, instruments, and tools on topics suc ...
*
World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. The WHO Constitution states its main objective as "the attainme ...
*
World Intellectual Property Organization The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO; french: link=no, Organisation mondiale de la propriété intellectuelle (OMPI)) is one of the 15 specialized agencies of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergover ...
*
World Meteorological Organization The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a List of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for promoting international cooperation on atmospheric science, climatology, hydrology and ...
*
World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization Globalization is social change associated with increased connectivity among societies and their elements and the explosive evolution of transportation and telecommunica ...
* Zangger Committee


See also

* Absentee voting in the United Kingdom * British political scandals *
British Polling Council The British Polling Council (BPC) is an association of market research Market research is an organized effort to gather information about target markets and customers: know about them, starting with who they are. It is an important component o ...
* Common Policy Frameworks of the United Kingdom *
Electoral registration in the United Kingdom Electors must be on the electoral register in order to vote in elections and referendums in the UK. Electoral registration officers within local authorities have a duty to compile and maintain accurate electoral registers. Registration was introd ...
*
History of taxation in the United Kingdom The history of taxation in the United Kingdom includes the history of all collections by governments under law, in money or in kind, including collections by monarchs and lesser feudal lords, levied on persons or property subject to the governmen ...
* List of British political defections * Parliament in the Making * Parliament Week * Pressure groups in the United Kingdom *
Referendums in the United Kingdom Referendums in the United Kingdom are occasionally held at a national, regional or local level. Historically, national referendums are rare due to the long-standing principle of parliamentary sovereignty Parliamentary sovereignty, also called ...
*
Universal basic income in the United Kingdom Universal basic income is a subject of much interest in the United Kingdom. There is a long history of discussion yet it has not been implemented to date. Interest in and support for universal basic income has increased substantially amongst the ...


Overviews by period

*
2010s in United Kingdom political history 2010s political history refers to significant political and societal historical events in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in ...
*
Premiership of Boris Johnson Boris Johnson's term as the prime minister of the United Kingdom began on 24 July 2019 when he accepted an invitation of Queen Elizabeth II to form a government, following 2019 Conservative Party leadership election, the resignation of his pred ...


References


Further reading

* ''
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography The ''Dictionary of National Biography'' (''DNB'') is a standard work of reference on notable figures from History of the British Isles, British history, published since 1885. The updated ''Oxford Dictionary of National Biography'' (''ODNB'') ...
'' (2004
online
short scholarly biographies of all the major people who died by 2009 * Addison, Paul and Harriet Jones, eds. ''A Companion to Contemporary Britain: 1939–2000'' (2005
excerpt and text search
* Brown, David, Robert Crowcroft, and Gordon Pentland, eds. ''The Oxford Handbook of Modern British Political History, 1800-2000'' (2018
excerpt
* Budge, Ian, et al. eds. ''The New British Politics'' (4th ed. 2007) 712pp * Butler, David. ''British General Elections Since 1945'' (1995) 195pp
excerpt and text search
* Cannon, John, ed. ''The Oxford Companion to British History'' (2003), historical encyclopedia; 4000 entries in 1046p
excerpt and text search
* Childs, David. ''Britain since 1945: A Political History'' (2012
excerpt and text search
* Cook, Chris and John Stevenson, eds. ''Longman Companion to Britain Since 1945'' (1995) 336pp * Fairlie, Henry. "Oratory in Political Life," ''History Today'' (Jan 1960) 10#1 pp 3–13. A survey of political oratory in Britain from 1730 to 1960. * Hennessy, Peter. ''The Prime Minister: The Office and Its Holders Since 1945'' (2001
except and text search
Attlee to Blair; 688pp * Jones, Harriet, and Mark Clapson, eds. ''The Routledge Companion to Britain in the Twentieth Century'' (2009)
excerpt and text search
* King, Anthony. ''The British Constitution'' (2011) 464pp * Leventhal, F.M. ''Twentieth-Century Britain: An Encyclopedia'' (2nd ed. 2002) 640pp; short articles by scholars * Marr, Andrew. ''A History of Modern Britain'' (2009); also published as ''The Making of Modern Britain'' (2010), popular history 1945–2005 * Pugh, Martin. '' Speak for Britain!: A New History of the Labour Party'' (2011)
excerpt and text search
* Ramsden, John, ed. ''The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century British Politics'' (2005
excerpt and text search


External links


Prospect Magazine - UK based political magazine focussing on British and international politics, cultural essays and arguments

British Politics - the only academic journal devoted purely to the study of political issues in Britain

Directgov, main entry point for citizens to the UK government
*


Official UK parliament website




from the Keele University School of Politics
British Politics and Policy at LSE
The London School of Economics' UK politics and policy blog
ePolitix - UK Politics news website


Compiled by a retired English Librarian
Women's Parliamentary Radio
Interviews and resources about women politicians in the UK {{DEFAULTSORT:Politics of the United Kingdom sv:Storbritannien#Statsskick och politik