The United Kingdom (UK) consists of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The UK covers an area of 96,600 square miles and has a population of approximately 65.1 million inhabitants. The capital of the UK and its largest city is London with a population of 10.3 million.
The United Kingdom is governed by parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy, in which the monarch, currently Elizabeth II, is the head of state. The Prime Minister of the United
Kingdom is the head of government. Executive power is given to the British government, on behalf of and by the consent of the monarch.
The UK parliament consists of two chambers; the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The judiciary is independent and the highest court is the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.
The countries of the United Kingdom are divided in parliamentary constituencies. Each constituency elects a Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons at General Elections and, if required, at by-elections. At 2010 there are 650 constituencies. The House of Commons creates new legislature.The House of Lords traditionally was a largely hereditary aristocratic chamber with the addition of life peers and Lords Spiritual. The House of Lords Act 1999 is a further reform which includes Lords Temporal and Lords Spiritual. The Lords Temporal include nominated members and 92 remaining hereditary peers. The Lords Spiritual represent the Church of England. The House of Lords exists to review legislation initiated by the House of Commons.
In addition to the UK parliament there are three devolved national administrations; Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly.
The monarch appoints a Prime minister as the head of Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom, guided by the conventions that the Prime Minister should be the member of the House of Commons most likely to form a Government with support of that house, this nearly always means that leader of the political party with the majority is chosen to be the Prime Minister.
The UK political system is a multi-party system. Since the 1920’s the two biggest parties have been the Conservative Party and the Labour Party.
The Conservative Party was founded in 1834. The political position of the Conservative Party is centre-right. The majority of the party has ideology in conservatism, economic liberalism, British unionism and Euroscepticism. The Conservative Party relies on donations mostly from individuals and companies.
The Labour Party was founded in 1900. The political position of the Labour Party is centre-left. The majority of the party has ideology in social democracy and democratic socialism. The Labour Party relies on donations from individuals, companies and trade unions.
Prime Ministers from 1924
- 1924-1929 – Stanley Baldwin
- 1929-1931 – Ramsey MacDonald
- 1931-1935 – Ramsey MacDonald
- 1935-1937 – Stanley Baldwin
- 1937-1940 – Neville Chamberlain
- 1940-1945 – Winston Churchill
- 1945-1951 – Clement Attlee
- 1951-1955 – Winston Churchill
- 1955-1957 – Anthony Eden
- 1957-1963 – Harold Macmillan
- 1963-1964 – Alec Douglas-Home
- 1964-1970 – Harold Wilson
- 1970-1974 – Edward Heath
- 1974-1976 – Harold Wilson
- 1976-1979 – James Callaghan
- 1979-1990 – Margaret thatcher
- 1990-1997 – John Major
- 1997-2007 – Tony Blair
- 2007-2010 – Gordon Brown
- 2010-2015 – David Cameron
- 2015-2016 – David Cameron
- 2016-Current – Theresa May