UK: Political structure

Content Type
Country Data and Maps
Economist Intelligence Unit
No abstract is available.
Politics, Summary, Political structure
Political Geography
United Kingdom

Official name

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Form of state

Parliamentary monarchy

Legal system

Based on statute and common law; no written constitution; Scotland has its own system

National legislature

Bicameral; the House of Commons (the lower house of parliament) has 650 members directly elected on a first-past-the-post basis; the House of Lords (the upper house, with about 800 members) was reformed in 1999, when most hereditary peers lost their seats

Electoral system

Universal direct suffrage from the age of 18

National elections

Most recent general election: June 8th 2017. Snap election called for December 12th 2019.

Head of state

Queen Elizabeth II, who acceded to the throne in 1952

National government

Cabinet headed by the prime minister, who is appointed by the monarch on the basis of ability to form a government with the support of the House of Commons. The centre-right Conservative Party took office as a single-party minority government in June 2017

Main political parties

Conservative Party, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, UK Independence Party (UKIP), Brexit Party, Green Party, Scottish National Party (SNP), Plaid Cymru (Welsh National Party); Northern Ireland parties: Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Alliance Party, Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), Sinn Fein

Prime minister: Boris Johnson

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Michael Gove

Chancellor of the exchequer: Sajid Javid

Chief secretary to the Treasury: Rishi Sunak

Leader of the House of Lords & Lord Privy Seal: Baroness Evans

Leader of the House of Commons: Jacob Rees-Mogg

Minister for the Cabinet Office: Oliver Dowden

Minister without portfolio & party chair: James Cleverly

Parliamentary secretary to the Treasury & Chief Whip: Mark Spencer

Secretaries of state

Business, energy & industrial strategy: Andrea Leadsom

Defence: Ben Wallace

Digital, culture, media & sport: Nicky Morgan

Education: Gavin Williamson

Environment, food & rural affairs: Theresa Villiers

Exiting the European Union: Stephen Barclay

Foreign & Commonwealth affairs: Dominic Raab

Health & social care: Matt Hancock

Home Office: Priti Patel

Housing, communities & local government: Robert Jenrick

International development: Alok Sharma

International trade: Liz Truss

Justice & Lord Chancellor: Robert Buckland

Northern Ireland: Julian Smith

Scotland: Alister Jack

Transport: Grant Shapps

Wales: vacant

Work & pensions: Therese Coffey

Central bank governor

Mark Carney

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