The United Kingdom is an unitary democracy governed within the framework of a constitutional monarchy, in which the Monarch is the head of stateand the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government.
The UK political system is a multi-party system. Since the 1920s, the two largest political parties have been the Conservative Party and the Labour Party. Before the Labour Party rose in British politics, the Liberal Party was the other major political party along with the Conservatives.
The current Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government is the first coalition since 1945.
The constitution of the United Kingdom is uncodified, being made up of constitutional conventions, statutes and other elements such as EU law. This system of government, known as theWestminster system, has been adopted by other countries, especially those that were formerly parts of the British Empire.
The United Kingdom is also responsible for several dependencies, which fall into two categories: the Crown dependencies, in the immediate vicinity of the UK, and British Overseas Territories, which originated as colonies of the British Empire.
The British Monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II, is the Chief of State of the United Kingdom. Though she takes little direct part in government, the Crown remains the fount in which ultimate executive power over Government lies. These powers are known as Royal Prerogative and can be used for a vast amount of things, such as the issue or withdrawal of passports, to the dismissal of the Prime Minister or even the Declaration of War. The powers are delegated from the Monarch personally, in the name of the Crown, and can be handed to various ministers, or other Officers of the Crown, and can purposely bypass the consent of Parliament.
The single most important fact in understanding the nature of the British political system is the fundamental continuity of that system. Britain has Parliamentnot had a revolution of the kind experienced by so many other countries and Britain has not been invaded or occupied for almost 1,000 years. The last successful invasion was in 1066 by the Normans. Is this true of any other country in the world? I can only think of Sweden. ( cia toks bendras idomus faktas )
To simplify British political history very much, it has essentially been a struggle to shift political power and accountability from the all-powerful king – who claimed that he obtained his right to rule from God – to a national parliament that was increasingly representative of ordinary people and accountable to ordinary people. There have been many milestones along this long and troubled road to full democracy.
A key date in this evolution was 1215 when King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta which involved him sharing power with the barons. This is regarded as the first statement of citizen rights in the world – although Hungarians are proud of the Golden Bull of just seven years later.
The year 2015 will be a special year for the British Parliament as it will be the 750th anniversary of the de Montfort Parliament (the first gathering in England that can be called a parliament in the dictionary sense of the word), along with the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the document that set the scene for the later 1265 de Montfort Parliament. ( irgi idomus faktas, manyciau ant galo toks )