The political system of Great Britain
The UK of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has been the official title of the British state ever since 1922.
The UK is constitutional monarchy. This means that the official head of state is the monarch, but his or her powers are limited by the constitution. The British constitution is not written in any single document. Only some of these rules are written down in the form of ordinary laws passed by Parliament at various times.
The Commons has 650, elected and paid Members of Parliament. The Lords is made up of hereditary and life peers, two archbishops and 24 bishops of the Church of England.
The House of Lords is allso the final court of appeal for civil cases in the United Kingdom and for criminal cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Only the Lords of Appeal (Law Lords) – of whom there are 12 employed full-time – take part in judicial pr
The major part of Parliament’s work is revising the Government’s work. From Monday to Thursday all ministers must answer MP´s questions for one hour, the Prime Minister must answer their questions two days a week.
Another important parliamentary task is law-making. A bill (a proposal of a new law) must pass through the Houses and then is sent to the Queen for Royal Assent.
General elections to choose MP´s are held every five years. Voting is not compulsory and is from the age of 18. In 1997 won the Labour Party headed by Tony Blair.
The Government is formed by the party which has the majority in the Parliament and the Queen appoints its leader as the Prime Minister. The Prime Miinister appoints a team of main ministers as the Cabinet (about 20 people).
The second largest party form the official opposition with its own leader and “shadow cabinet”. At present it is the Conservative Party headed by John Major. The third party represented in the Parliament are the Liberals.
British national flag is called “Union Jack”. It symbolises the Union of England, Scotland and Ireland and dates back from 1801. The flag is made up of the crosses of the patron saints of
National anthem is “God Save The Queen”. Each part of the UK has its own symbol:
• England – red rose
• Ireland – shamrock
• Wales – leek, daffodil
• Scotland – thistle