United Kingdom Data Sheet
April 20, 2015
The United Kingdom is a unitary state
# of subunits- The United Kingdom
has four subunits: England, Scotland,
Wales and Northern Ireland
Description of arrangement- England
seems to contain a majority of the
power within the United Kingdom due
to the fact that over 70% of the UK’s
population is English and also that
England houses the major governing
bodies within the UK
The United Kingdom has a Parliamentary
Head of State- The Head of State in the United
Kingdom is Queen Elizabeth II
The United Kingdom has both a Head
of State and Head of Government
Powers of Head of State/length of
term- Some powers include undertaking
constitutional and representative duties, giving
a sense of stability and continuity, and acting as
a focus for national identity, unity and pride.
The Head of State, or the Monarch, serves for
Head of Government- The Head of
Government in the United Kingdom is Prime
Minister David Cameron
Head of State
Head of State Elections
Election process of the Head of State:
There is no election process for the Head of
State in the United Kingdom. The current Head
of State, Queen Elizabeth II ascended the
throne when her father, King George VI,
passed away. Her heir apparent is Charles,
Powers of the Head of
Government/length of term- The Prime
Minister is head of the UK government and is
ultimately responsible for the policy and
decisions of the government. As head of the
UK government the Prime Minister also:
oversees the operation of the Civil Service and
government agencies, appoints members of the
government, and is the principal government
figures in the House of Commons. The term
length is fixed at 5 years.
Election process of Head of
Government: The Prime Minister is not directly
elected. After the general elections, whichever
party with the most members in Parliament has
their leader become Prime Minister. Their
name does not appear directly on the ballot.
Name of Judicial Branch
Other Important Institutions
Prince of Wales.
The House of Lords has 780 members that
serve for life. It is mostly a rubberstamp
organization, though the House of Lords have
the opportunity to strike down bills.
There are 650 MP’s (members of Parliament)
in the House of Commons. It is the main
branch of legislature that writes and passes
laws for the public. It is the most powerful
branch of the UK government.
The Supreme Court of the UK has 12 judges
selected by an independent committee of
several judicial commissions, followed by
recommendations to the PM, and appointed by
Describe Bureaucracy: The Bureaucracy is
fused with the legislative branch in the UK
system of government. The “civil servants” or
the members of the bureaucracy are headed by
ministers, and are chosen by the prime minister.
The UK bureaucracy officials rarely are
associated with a party, but have a lot of input
in the policy making.
How are elites recruited? Elites are initially
elected as representatives. However, once
people are a part of parliament, they are
appointed to higher positions, such as cabinet
member or minister by the prime minister.
Other Important institutions: (if applicable) The
UK government has one unusual remnant of
their hereditary form of government called the
House of Lords. It is the only hereditary
The Crown appoints the House of Lords and
the seats are passed through families and to
important people in the country.
The House of Commons is elected through
general elections in every district of the UK.
It is the highest appellate court in the United
Kingdom. Lower courts exist to handle local
and regional matters.
Describe Cabinet: The cabinet is known as the
Cabinet of Ministers in the UK. They are all
parliamentary members appointed by the prime
minister, who heads the legislative and
executive branches. This group decides on all
public policy with the prime minister at the
core, and all publically supports the prime
minister’s decisions, assuming “collective
responsibility” for the decisions.
parliamentary house today. Today, the only jobs
they hold are to delay legislation and debate
technicalities of proposed bills.
Describe type of “feedback” citizens receive:
The citizens are able to receive any type of
“feedback” since the press is basically
unlimited, both kind and unkind to the
government, as well as being able to learn
about other countries.
Describe: The level of legitimacy in the UK is
Features of Constitution
When was it written? The British Constitution
is considered “unwritten,” as it is made up of
different documents presented throughout the
years, such as the Magna Carta of 1215 and the
Act of Settlement of 1701. Basically, many
sources make up the British Constitution
including statues, laws and customs of
Parliament, political conventions, and case law.
3 key events and how they shaped
current government (revolutions)
American and French revolutions- A
sense of injustice and a growing political
consciousness outside the landed classes, as
well as the influence of revolutions in America
How independent is the media? The UK has a
longstanding tradition of freedom of the press,
and it is recognized as a common law right, but
there’s also a statutory basis in Article 10 of the
European Convention on Human Rights, which
has been incorporated into UK law by the
Human Rights Act 1998. According to
Freedom House, the UK is on the very high
side of independence.
Identify sources of legitimacy
The UK government is elected with a clear
mandate to govern. The House of Commons is
elected.. Since the Prime Minister is widely
acknowledged as the supreme policy maker in
the political system, their power is legitimate.
Identify 3 unique features
The Rule of Law states that the rights of
individuals are determined by legal rules, not
the arbitrary behavior of authorities.
Parliament is allowed to pass, repeal, and alter
any of Britain’s laws.
The roles between branches have merged over
time because there is no clear separation of
powers that has been codified.
Key political leaders
and France, contributed to a small but growing
demand for parliamentary reform consequently
leading to the reforms that shape the current
The first petition to Parliament asking
for votes for women was presented to the
House of Commons by Henry Hunt MP on
behalf of a Mary Smith, on 3 August 1832- led
to the start of the use of petitions in Parliament
and in addition the start of the suffrage
movement on behalf of movement
The House of Lords was stripped of
most of its power in 1911 with the Parliament
act of 1911- The House of Lords no longer
could veto a Bill, except one to extend the
lifetime of a Parliament. It’s new main function
was to revise legislation.
−PM since 2010
−MP since 2001
−Leader of Conservative party since 2005
−Leader of Labour Party and Opposition
−MP since 2005
−Cabinet member since 2007
−Member of Coalition Government
−Lord President of the Council
−Deputy PM since 2010
Immigrants, Northern Ireland, Women
The UK is 92% white. Immigrant
minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan, India,
China, Africa, and the Caribbean are not widely
and enthusiastically welcomed. There has been
a strong xenophobic push in the UK as well as
laws preventing certain groups from wearing
The UK is predominantly protestant
while their neighbor, Ireland, is predominantly
Catholic. There has always been high tensions
over this religious cleavage but it turned into an
ethnic cleavage as well when Northern Ireland
remained loyal to Britain and became a part of
Although women may not have as
many leadership positions as men in the UK,
they are much better off here relative to the rest
of the world.
Role of Political Elites
Conservative and Unionist Party
Progressive, welfare party
Interest Group System
−Old PM who stepped down after Iraq war
–Runs a management consulting firm
–Does political tours
–Leader of SNP
–First woman in the position
–Mayor of London
–Political clout online
Attitudes towards Government
Government has strong legitimacy in
Citizens voice their opinions and are
not shy to show disapproval
Trades Union Congress, British Medical
Association, Law Society, National Union of
Teachers, and Confederation of British Industry
Types of political participation
Trades Union Congress (TUC)- 38%
of workforce is unionized & 90% of unionized
workers are affiliated with TUC
British Medical Association (BMA)- is
the professional association and registered
trade union for doctors in the United Kingdom
Law Society- the professional
association that represents and governs the
solicitors' profession for England and Wales.
National Union of Teachers (NUT)Teachers' trade union representing members in
all sectors of education and teachers
Confederation of British Industry
(CBI)- The mission is to help create and sustain
First World/Third World
The UK is a highly capitalistic society and one
of the first nations in the world to industrialize.
The UK had government corporations for most
of its history but underwent some privatization
under the rule of Margaret Thatcher. Some
foreign owned industries are the UK’s
multinational oil and financial service players.
The oil company British Petroleum (BP),
pharmaceutical company Zeneca (now
AstroZeneca), and telecom company Vodafone
are all head quartered in the UK but are
involved in business operations worldwide.
The United Kingdom is highly developed and
referred to as a First World Nation.
The United Kingdom is a member of NATO
and the European Union.
National Health System:
Provides most health care to residents of the
UK, free of cost
Ranks 18th in the world in health systems
Health costs are rising sharply and under the
NHS there is a long wait time to receive
the conditions in which businesses in the UK
can compete effectively and prosper. It
achieves these objectives by working with the
U.K. government, international legislators and
The government nationally provides healthcare,
but a few private companies exist for those
who can afford it.
The United Kingdom has large oil reserves in
the north shore near the Shetlands. The proven
reserves are so vast the production has its own
economic index called the Brent Crude index.
British education is both private and public, but
the upper education system houses some of the
most premier universities in the world.
5 factors: GDP/capita, Literacy Rate, Freedom
House Scores, Women’s Rights, Rule of Law
As a member of the European Union the UK
faces certain laws regarding agricultural
production and chocolate production that they
must follow. Additionally, internet and data
service laws passed by the EU affect the UK.
As a member of NATO, the UK provides
intelligence and military support to the smaller
and less developed countries that are members.
The Conservative Party is planning an overhaul
of the NHS
The United Kingdom’s public housing program
is referred to as council housing
Since the 1970s, non-profit housing
organizations has been largely responsible for
the operations of Council Housing
The goals of Council Housing are to deal with
people in need and aid neighborhood
regeneration and social inclusion.
Compulsory School Age: full time education is
mandatory for children between the ages of 5
and 16 in England.
National Curriculum: provide a framework for
education in England and Wales for children
between the ages of 5 and 18
The last election held on the United Kingdom
was May 6, 2010. Before this election, the
Labour Party held the majority in Parliament
and Gordon Brown was the Prime Minister.
This election was significant because it resulted
in a hung parliament; no party won enough
seats to have a majority. The Conservative
Parliament led by David Cameron received the
most votes but still fell 20 seats short of a
majority. In response, a coalition government
was made between the Conservative Party and
the Liberal Democrats. On May 12, it was
announced that the coalition had been
approved, and the Conservative/Liberal
Democrat coalition was formed with David
Cameron the Prime Minister of Parliament.
Although the countries of the United
Kingdom have the same legislature, they
compete separately for sporting events
The full name of the United Kingdom
is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
The UK is the 22nd most populous
country in the world