Government Structure of the UK



Government Structure of the UK

By: Rebekah Secrist and Amanda Daily


Parliamentary Type of Government


  • The government of the UK is a parliamentary type. There are three branches of government in this political system: executive, legislative, and judiciary.
  • Unlike in the US, there is no separation of powers. The ministers of government are also legislative members, and several senior staff within the judiciary sit in areas of parliament.


The Houses: Bicameral


  • House of Commons (lower)
    • Have more authority
    • Has a speaker of the house who has parliamentary constituency (is always backed up)
  • House of Lords (upper)
    • No set number of members: currently 830
    • Scrutinize government
    • Have religious senior staff in their House from the COE and “life peers” (chosen by the queen to sit in the house for life)


Committees of the Houses


  • The House of Commons – They work on legislation and the amendment processes involved.
  • Lifetime
  • General (temporary)
    • The House of Lords
  • A shadowing committee – Closely scrutinizes government and all governmental activities.




The monarchy is strictly ceremonial and has little power besides being head of state. The Royal Family, however, does reserve some political rights. Parliament must discourse with the Royal Family seniors before legislation that could potentially damage the private interests of the Royal Family is passed. The senior royals also have the opportunity to amend such legislation.



The Prime Minister acts as the governmental leader and must come from within parliament. The Prime Minister appoints ministers who run specific departments in parliament, but the Prime Minister is largely responsible for issues that pertain to foreign policy. The top three government ministers selected by the Prime Minister, is the Secretary of State, Minister of State, and Parliamentary under-secretary of State. Together, the Prime Minister and all secretaries of the state form the Cabinet and serve as the Prime Minister’s political advisors.




  • First Reading – where the Speaker of the House reads the proposal/bill
  • Second Reading – allows for the principle of the bill to be debated and formally voted on
  • Committee Stage, the clauses and amendments are examined by the Commons through specially elected members and by the Lords on the floor of their house
  • Report Stage – the house debates any changes the committees made
  • Third Reading State – a short debate on the bill is conducted
  • Royal Assent Stage – where the crown assents the Bill and it becomes an Act (“commencement order.”)




  • Governmental – All ministers and their parliamentary private secretaries must participate in or they are forced to resign. Additionally, all secretaries of the ministers of parliament must be present to vote. Such government voting is called “payroll vote,” and results in what is commonly known as “bloc voting.”
  • Citizen – Eighteen-year-old citizens are allowed to vote. Elections are not done on a national scale by through single-member districts.
  • Although elections were only held only when the PM called for them, a more general election process is now present, thanks to legislation passed by the Coalition Government that required fixed elections every five years.




  • country councils and district, borough, or city councils
  • unitary authorities in shire areas, London boroughs, and metropolitan boroughs.



Terms for local office are four-year terms and the community citizens, in the reflection of their views, vote council elections.



The political system of the UK is VERY flexible, and many times it can very well act democratically. Mostly, the UK does not function as a democracy.


Exception: The media of the UK is completely free, which is a sign of democracy because people are free to critique their government and act independently within the media.


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