System of government in Great Britain

Great Britain is a constitutional monarchy with the Queen as the head of state. Britain is divided into four parts: England (London capital), Wales (Cardiff), Scotland (Edinburgh) and Northern Ireland (Belfast). Locally is Britain divided into counties. The capital of the whole Britain is London. Other big cities are e. g. Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester and Bristol.

The head of state is Queen but she can act only on the advice of her ministers. Queen Elizabeth II. lives in Buckingham Palace in London. She has four children - Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward.

The Constitution of the United Kingdom is unwritten, it is based on custom, tradition and common law. The supreme law-making body in the country is Parliament. Parliament consists of: the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The Houses of Parliament are the centre of British government. They were built in last century. British parliamentary system is one of the oldest in the world, it developed slowly during 13th century after King John’s signature of Magna Carta in 1215.

The Commons has 650 Members of Parliament (MPs) - 523 from England, 72 from Scotland, 38 from Wales and 17 from Northern Ireland. The Lords is made up of hereditary

and life peers (Lords Temporal), 2 archbishops and 24 bishops of the Church of England. (Lords Spiritual).

From Monday to Thursday all ministers must answer MPs´ questions for one hour. It is called Questioning time. Two days a week the Prime minister must answer MPs´ questions. Another important parliamentary task is law-making. A proposal of some new law - a bill - must pass through both Houses and then is sent to the Queen for Royal Assent.

General elections to choose MPs are every five years. Voting is not compulsory and is from the age of 18. In the elections of June 1987 the Conservative Party gained an overall majority. In the election held in April 1992 the Conservative Party won for the third time. Hades by John Major the Conservatives gained 336 seats in the House of Commons.

The Government is formed by the party which has the majority in Parliament and the Queen appoints its leader as the Prime Minister. The present Prime Minister is a representative Tony Blair who replaced John Major. John Major replaced Margaret Thatcher who had been in this office for 11 years.

British national flag symbolises the Union of England, Scotland and Ireland. Each country has its cross in the flag.

The name of national anthem is "God Save the Queen!" British national flag is sometimes called Union Jack. The origin of the name is uncertain. Each country has its cross in the flag. England – St. George’s Cross, Scotland – St. Andrew’s Cross, Ireland – St. Patrick’s Cross. Each part ha its own symbol, England has the red rose, Wales has the leek and daffodil (pórek a narcis), Scotland ha the thistle (bodlák) and Ireland has the shamrock (jetel).

The constitution is unwritten, it is based on custom traditional and common law.

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