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The United Kingdom derives one of the oldest monarchies in the world. Certainly the most well known. That said, nowadays, the Monarch tends to assume a more and more symbolic role. Whilst there are many constitutional practices that are associated with the Monarch, it is commonly acknowledged that it is the Government that is in true command of the country. Should the Queen (or King) ever decide to flex their muscles and exercise any type on non-conventional power, it really would not go down at all well. 

UK Government

The Government and constitution of the United Kingdom is highly unusual when compared with other countries around the world. This is because it is one of only two countries on the planet (the other being Saudi Arabia) that does not have an officially written constitution deeply enshrined into law. 

This does not mean to say that the UK has no constitution at all, in fact, quite the reverse is true: it is just that the constitution can be found through several statutes (one of which dates back to 1215 ‘The Magna Carta’), and conventions that have originated over the centuries. 

One such convention is that there should even be a government and Prime Minister in the first place. Believe it or not but there is nothing written down in an Act of Parliament that dictates either of these essential practices.   

Governments of the United Kingdom are elected to Parliament through a voting system that is known as ‘First Past the Post’. This basically means that whichever candidate standing for election in a constituency receives the most votes, will become the respective Member of Parliament (MP). In terms of the actual political parties that have tended to govern the country over the past century, this has alternated between The Labour Party (left wing) and the Conservative Party who tend to be more right of centre. 

The political party that secures the most seats within the House of Commons (the lowest house in the bicameral chamber) will gain an automatic right to govern the country if they are able to secure a majority. This currently stands at half of the seats of the house (326). When a party is unable to secure this essential number of seats, this will result in what is known as a ‘Hung parliament’  and this will lead to the parties fighting it out amongst themselves to form a coalition to go on and create the new government. This is quite a rare occurrence, in British politics, but it did happen in the election of May, 2010. 

The highest house of Parliament is known as the House of Lords and for the most part, people of the UK feel completely isolated and disillusioned with this chamber’s very existence. Fundamentally, this is because the members of the House of Lords are not elected to their positions. Yet they still have the power to dictate on the laws of this country and delay legislation passing through the lower house.  

Once a government has the necessary majority in the House of Commons, they will then approach the Monarch and request to form a government. This is all protocol and the Monarch would never refuse such a right as the country has spoken. The leader of the party with the most seats will automatically become the Prime Minister and they would go on to form the ‘Cabinet’ of the top Mps that would assist in running the country.

 

 

 

 


 

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