Political system of Great Britain


Otázka: The political system of Great Britain

Jazyk: Angličtina

Přidal(a): a-mpytlikova


Political system

  • Democracy governed within the framework of constitutional monarchy
    • Official head of state is the monarch, but his or her powers are limited by the constitution
  • The United Kingdom’s constitution is unwritten
    • Based on the agreement, tradition, and common law (set of laws, tradition)
    • The British system of government is the oldest parliamentary democracy in Europe
  • Member of nearly all important international organizations: UN, EU, NATO and OECD


Head of the state: the Monarch (Queen Elizabeth )

  • Four descendants: Charles (Prince of Wales), Andrew, Edward and Anne
  • Husband: Duke of Edinburgh, sister Margaret
  • The heir of the throne is William
  • Became Queen in 1952
  • She can only reign with the support of Parliament – symbolic head
  • regular meetings with the Prime minister and she is informed about Cabinet decisions
  • seat in Buckingham Palace, Windsor castle (weekend house+state visites)



  • Represent the state
  • Perform social and ceremonial functions
  • Appoint all the Ministers, including the Prime Minister and judges
  • Visiting foreign countries
  • Holding receptions, recieve diplomats
  • Declares war and peace
  • Ratifies and makes treaties
  • Confer honours
  • Summons, prorogues and dissolves Parliament
  • Grants or refuses Royal assent to bills



  • Head of the Church of England
  • Head of Commonwealth
  • Head of the executive and judiciary
  • Commander-in-chief of all armed forces



  • State Opening of the Parliament
    • Every year opens parliamentary session in May
    • Queen’s speech: from the Throne in the House of Lords
  • Garter service: an order of chivalry founded by Edward III of England in 1348
    • the most senior order of knighthood in the British honours system
  • Trooping the colour: on official Queen’s birthday
    • a ceremony performed by regiments of the British Army
    • held annually on the second Saturday in June
    • usually takes place at Horse Guards Parade by St James’s Park, London
    • the ceremony is broadcast live by the BBC within the UK


Political power: legislative – executive – judicial

  • Legislative (Parliament)
    • The supreme law-making body in the country
    • Seat in Westminster Palace (Houses Parliament)
    • Chambers: House of Lords and the House of Commons
    • Two sessions: each session lasts a year, final session terminated by dissolution



  • Law-making
  • Proposals for new bills
  • All the parliamentary proceedings are public, they are broadcasted on TV or radio
  • House of Lords
    • Formed in 11th century (older)
    • Members are appointed by the Queen
    • Lords Temporal: hereditary peers and life peers
      • Hereditary peers – inherit their post from generation to generation
      • Life peers – become peers when they do something important for the state
    • Lords Spiritual: 24 bishops and 2 archbishops
      • Lord Chancellor: the leader of the House of Lords
      • Lord Speaker: attends and speaks at ceremonial occasions
  • House of Commons
    • Originated in 13th century (younger)
    • Contains 650 members
    • Members are elected – every 5 years
    • Each MP represents a definite part of a county
    • Candidates must be over 21, the minimum voting age is 18
    • New bills are introduced and debated (law-making authority)
      • A bill must pass through the Houses and then is sent to the Queen for Royal Assent
    • The speaker: the chief of the House (elected), maintains order in the House
  • Executive (Government)
    • The party, which wins the majority of seats, forms the Government
    • Prime Minister: head of the Government
      • leader of the winning party
      • Elected every 5 years
      • Selects all remaining ministers
      • Current Prime Minister: Boris Johnson (Conservative party)
    • Cabinet: the executive organ of government
      • Meets weekly at 10 Downing Street (home of British Prime Ministers)
      • The second party becomes the Opposition and forms the Shadow-Cabinet
    • Political parties: Conservative party and Labour party
  • Judicial (Supreme court of the UK)
    • Independent of the executive and the legislative


Terms Great Britain and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland:

  • GB = geographical term (England + Scotland + Wales)
  • UK = political term (Great Britain + Northern Ireland)

Bill = proposal for a new law

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