The Government is led by the Prime Minister, who chooses the other Ministers. The Prime Minister and the other most powerful Ministers belong to a group known as the Cabinet, who are the most important decision makers in the Government. These ministers are all members of Parliament. Laws are made by MPs voting in Parliament, which is called 'legislative authority'. These laws make what is called primary legislation. The government is chosen by the people of the United Kingdom voting in an election and, at least every five years, the people can vote again. The monarch selects the Prime Minister as the leader of the party who is likely to get the most votes in Parliament.
Under the British constitution, executive authority, the power to use the laws to take action, belongs to the monarch, but this power is used only by, or on the advice of, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. Laws passed by Parliament are always agreed ("given assent") by the monarch. The monarch generally always does things suggested by the elected government. The Cabinet members advise the monarch as part of a group called Privy Council. They also use their power directly as leaders of the Government departments.
There are separate governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, each responsible to their own local parliament. These parliaments have certain limits decided by the main parliament in Westminster. There is no separate English Parliament.
The Prime Minister now is David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party, who was chosen by Queen Elizabeth II on 11 May 2010 after the UK General Election on 6 May 2010. The election did not have a simple and obvious winner, even though the Conservatives had the most votes, because they almost had the same number as the other main party, the Labour party. This is called a hung parliament. So a coalition government was formed on the 12th of May 2010 between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. This is when two or more parties decide to share control.
References[change | change source]
- Her Majesty's Government Parliament of the United Kingdom, 28 June 2010
- Overview of the UK system of government : Directgov – Government, citizens and rights. Direct.gov.uk. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
- General elections – UK Parliament. Parliament.uk (2010-05-06). Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
- House of Commons – Justice Committee – Written Evidence. Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
- The monarchy : Directgov – Government, citizens and rights. Direct.gov.uk. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
- Jones, Clyve 2012. A short history of Parliament: England, Great Britain, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Scotland, p. 1; excerpt, "It is a commonly held misconception that the Westminster parliament is the 'mother of all parliaments' ... but the original phrase in 1865 was 'England is the mother or all parliaments'".