2 Contents: 1. A brief introduction 2. Monarchy 3. The Parliament 4. the Prime Minister and Cabinet5. The British Government Today
3 A brief introduction(characteristics): the oldest representative democracy in the worldthe process of state-building has been one of evolution rather than revolutionthe long, unbroken history is apparent in Britain’s current political institutions and in its political culture
4 A brief introduction:The UK still keeps an old fashioned government established on the basis of constitutional monarchy:
5 Constitutional Monarchy: The head of the state is a king or queen.In practice, the country is governed, in the name of the Sovereign, but by His or Her Majesty’s Government.
6 The Monarchy 1. History of the Monarchy ▶Magna Carta (the Great Charter)2. the present Sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II, daughter of George Ⅵ, who ascended the throne in 1952 and was crowned in her eldest son---Prince Charles--- is the heir to the throne.3. Power of the Queen
7 Magna Carta:King John of England agreed, in 1215, to the demands of his barons.Thus he bound not only himself but his "heirs, for ever" to grant "to all freemen of our kingdom" the rights and liberties the great charter described.With Magna Carta, King John placed himself and England's future sovereigns and magistrates within the rule of law.
13 Queen Elizabeth IIThe couple marked their diamond wedding anniversary with a special service of thanksgiving(2007)
14 The power of the QueenThe power of the queen is nowhere defined as Britain has no written constitution and many of the rules that govern the system are customs or conventions.
15 The power of the Queen Theoretically the Queen has all the power: 1. she is the head of the executive branch of government and gives effect to all laws;2. she may pardon criminal offenses and cancel punishments;3. she is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces;
16 The power of the Queen4. She is the temporal head of the Church of England;5. She also confers all titles of rank and appoints judges, officers of the armed forces, governors, bishops and diplomats;6. She has the power to conclude treaties, to declare war upon and make peace with other nations.
17 The power of the QueenIn practice, the role of the monarchy(symbolic):1. symbolise the tradition and unity of the British state;2. set standards of good citizenship and family life;3. a confidante to the Prime Minister.
18 Parliament 1. History of the Parliament 2. Functions of the Parliament 3. The House of Lords andthe House of Commons
19 Parliament History of the Parliament: “parliament” “to parley”: to discuss or talkThe term was first used in 1236: the gathering of feudal barons and representatives from counties and towns
20 Parliament the Great Council: leading, wealthy barons + representatives of counties, etc.People who were representatives of communitiessummoned“by name” (the House of Commons)(the House of Lords)
21 Parliament Functions: 1. passes laws; 2. provides the means of carrying on the work of government by voting for taxation;3. scrutinises government policy, administration and expenditure;4. debates the major issues of the day.
22 Parliament Parliament is the supreme legislative authority(why?) It consists of:the Queenthe House of Lordsthe House of Commons
26 The House of LordsThe House of Lords consists of the Lords Spiritual and the lords Temporal, which comprises hereditary and life peers , with the Lord chancellor as the President of the House.
27 The Lord ChancellorThe Lord chancellor is the President of the House of Lords. At present, there are over 1,000 peers who have the right to attend the debates, vote and propose bills and ask questions of government ministers, but not many of them actually use their power.
29 The House of CommonsThe House of Commons consists of 651 members elected from the country’s 651 constituencies, with Mr. Speaker as the chairman in debates.
30 Mr. SpeakerThe Speaker is elected by a vote of the House at the beginning of each new Parliament to preside over the House and enforce the rule of order.He has more powers than the Lord Chancellor and rank only next to the Prime Minister.
31 Prime Minister and the Cabinet The birth of the CabinetThe birth of the Prime Minister
32 CabinetThe Cabinet is composed of the heads of the most important departments. It is the Prime Minister who decides which minister will be included.The Cabinet meets regularly, usually once a week, in one of the rooms in the Prime Minister’s official residence, No. 10 Downing street.
36 The British Government Today deeply influenced by its long pastboth a parliamentary democracy anda constitutional monarchythe official head of state is the Queen, but her powers are largely traditional and symbolicThe government at national and local levels is elected by the people and governs according to British constitutional principles
37 The British Government Today The Constitution:Britain has no written constitution;statute law;the common law;conventions.
38 The British Government Today The ConstitutionParliamentThe Role of the Monarchy TodayThe House of Lords and the House of Commons