Political system of the UK
1. Work in a group of 3-4. Note down all the information or vocabulary you know about the political system of the UK.
2. Now read the text to check your answers. If you don’t find some information in the text, check the websites below.
The United Kingdom is a parliamentary democracy and also a constitutional monarchy. The monarch (Queen Elizabeth II) is head of state and the prime minister is the head of the government. There is no written constitution; instead the relationship between the state and the people relies on statute law, case law made by judges, and international treaties.
The legislative power is exercised by a bicameral Parliament consisting of the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The Parliament is a body of representatives of the people, elected by universal suffrage in elections. It passes laws, scrutinizes government work and debates major issues.
The House of Commons consists of 646 democratically elected MPs (Members of Parliament). The House of Lords is the second chamber (upper house) of the UK Parliament. It consists of Lords Spiritual (bishops of the Church of England, including the Archbishops of Canterbury) and Lords Temporal, who are hereditary (inheritable peerage) or life peers (not inheritable). Most new laws are introduced by the government but some can be initiated by an MP. Before a Bill becomes an Act of Parliament it must be approved by the Monarch (Royal Assent).
The Government of the UK is the highest body of executive power. It consists of ministers, most of whom are members of the House of Commons. The Queen appoints the Prime Ministers and other ministers on the Prime Minister’s recommendation. The government is accountable to the Parliament. The Cabinet is the supreme decision making body made up by high-ranking government ministers usually titled ‘Secretary of State’. The leading political parties in the UK are Conservative Party, Liberal Democrats and Labour Party.
Regarding the judicial power, the UK has three legal systems (England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland). In all three countries, many areas of law developed over the centuries as courts made decisions and these decisions became a body of laws, established principles, and procedures. The ultimate source of law is statutes passed by the Parliaments, but there is a legal duty to comply with European Community law.
Date: 2015-01-11; view: 647